In March 2012 Frito-Lay and Taco Bell struck a partnership to bring Doritos nacho cheese flavored taco shells to quick service menus across the US under the Locos Tacos brand. The partnership also prompted the more recent launch last month of a ‘cool ranch’ edition nationwide due to popular demand.
Now, Frito-Lay has launched two tortilla chip varieties that it says encompass the popular Doritos Locos Tacos (DLT) flavors available in Taco Bell. It said the launch marks the next phase of a “highly successful collaboration” with the national restaurant chain.
It has mixed traditional flavors – nacho cheese and cool ranch – with a new ‘crunchy taco’ flavor in the same pack. It said the crunch taco flavor is reminiscent of the Taco Bell product.
“It is a simple, yet brilliant concept that unites two fan favorites – Doritos chips and the Taco Bell Crunchy Taco for a truly one-of-kind snacking experience,” said Ram Krishnan, vice president of marketing at Frito-Lay.
“With the launch of DLT chips, we’re taking the next bold step in our partnership with Taco Bell by bringing the DLT flavor straight to the chip aisle,” Krishnan added.
The tortilla chips will launch nationwide for an unconfirmed limited period in three sizes – 11-oz, 3.4-oz and 2.1-oz bags.
Mexican tastes explode
Frito-Lay is the latest major brand to jump aboard the spicy and lucrative Hispanic snacks trend.
Hispanic, specifically Mexican, flavors have been touted as the hottest trend in the US snacks sector this year. This has predominantly been driven by the soaring Latin American population in the country, currently at around 53m with a spending power of $1.3 trillion a year. And this economy is set to triple by 2050, according to Nielsen data.
However, the trend has also been spurred by non-Hispanic consumers craving spice and heat in snacks.
Speaking at Snaxpo 2013, Terry Soto, president and CEO of Hispanic-targeted strategy firm Marketing Solutions said: “The preference for Latin and Mexican [among non-Hispanics] is tremendous. The appetite has grown in leaps and bounds and is expected to grow as a segment by 2% over the next two years... There is just this amazing like and appeal for very, very spicy flavors from non-Hispanic consumers.”
A lucrative collaboration…
CEO of Taco Bell Greg Creed said the launch of the nacho cheese flavor shell in March 2012 has since proved to be the chain’s most successful product launch in the 51 years of the Taco Bell brand, selling more than 375 million since the launch.
Speaking on last month’s launch of the cool ranch flavored shell, Creed said: “Originally we had planned to launch the Cool Ranch flavor in the same year as the introduction of Doritos Locos Tacos. However, the demand for Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos was so strong that we worked closely with our partner Frito-Lay to increase our capacity...”
The CEO said the latest flavor launch will be Taco Bell’s largest product launch and marketing campaign of 2013.