Back in 2006, long before anyone ever heard of Doritos Locos Tacos, General Mills made a flavored taco shell. It was a product ahead of its time, apparently: Consumers didn’t care, and the Old El Paso Stand ‘N Stuff taco shells in salsa and nacho flavor were discontinued. Now, eight years after its initial flub and two years after Taco Bell turned a nacho cheese taco shell into a best-seller, Old El Paso has decided it’s worth another go.
Bold Nacho Cheese Flavored Taco Shells will hit stores in August. Unlike the previous version, in which the cheese flavor was baked in, these have cheese flavor sprayed on—“blasted” as Old El Paso describes it—after the shells have been baked and fried. “We took a more topical approach,” Rob Clements, R&D manager for Old El Paso, says. The result, he says, is a cheesier-tasting taco with stronger “top notes.” The company is also using more cheese.
Regarding the nacho cheese flavor itself, Old El Paso found that it had a lot of flexibility, as ”nacho cheese” is not actually a real thing. The company let consumers determine what blend of cheese flavors it would call “nacho,” says Clements—a combination of cheddar cheese and blue cheese, as it turned out.
If successful, this product could kick off taco shell 2.0: the flavor wave. Of course PepsiCo—which already released the very meta Doritos Locos Tacos-flavored Doritos chips—could just as easily take its Doritos-Locos-Tacos shells to the grocery aisle. A representative for PepsiCo responded that “we don’t have anything to share at the moment.” So it’s not out of the question.