Few fast-food items have been placed on and taken off a restaurant's menu as much as Taco Bell's Nacho Fries.
First introduced at the start of 2018 as the kind of limited-time promotion for which the Yum! Brands (YUM) - Get Free Report-owned chain is known, the Taco Bell fan favorite is essentially French fries seasoned with a mysterious mix of "Tex-Mex seasoning" and served with a side of nacho cheese dipping sauce. Nacho Fries sold more than 53 million orders in the first two months and still hold the title of the chain's best-selling menu item ever. In 2022, they made up 23% of all items sold at Taco Bell.
But at the same time, Nacho Fries have yet to earn a permanent spot on Taco Bell's menu and have appeared on the menu nearly a dozen times between 2018 and 2023. While some fans had hoped that the last reappearance in April 2023 would be permanent, they have not been available at Taco Bell stores since the summer.
Here's what goes into Taco Bell's latest take on the Nacho Fries
As part of a wider strategy to gear up excitement around items that customers have not been able to buy in a while, Taco Bell has also been timing each return with a new take. Back in April, Taco Bell released the Yellowbird Nacho Fries made with steak pieces, the cheese sauce and and a spicy habanero ranch sauce made by the Texas-based Yellowbird company. Fans could have also bought the Nacho Fries alone without the "loaded" version.
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The latest iteration of the Nacho Fries also switches up the sauce that comes alongside them. While the Nacho Cheese Sauce was previously made with milk components, the new Nacho Fries to hit Taco Bell locations serve a plant-based version of the sauce that makes them a fully vegan item.
The vegan cheese sauce had already been tested for popularity inside the Vegan Crunchwrap that Taco Bell sold briefly in June 2023 and is meant to test how it is received by both its vegan and non-vegan customers. The sauce is designed to taste just as good as the milk-based version.
'Vegan, flexitarian or want to try something new?' Taco Bell asks
"This sauce, born from the success of our Vegan Crunchwrap, represents Taco Bell's commitment to providing delicious, craveable food for a variety of lifestyles," Taco Bell's Global Chief Innovation Officer Liz Matthews said in a statement. "Whether you're vegan, flexitarian or want to try something new, there's a place for you at our table."
After listening to fan complaints about how the original Nacho Fries were "too small," Taco Bell is also releasing a larger size for $2.99 (the original costs $2.19.) Both will be available at Taco Bell locations from Oct. 12 and until supplies run out.
While Taco Bell is yet to see any kind of strong response, a small segment of the population occasionally takes a very strong stance when a chain makes a beloved classic vegan. The biggest recent example of this uproar occurred when Southern-style restaurant chain Cracker Barrel announced that it was adding plant-based sausage to its breakfast menus as one among many other options in 2022.cheese milk sausage plant-based stocks