Enough with the wacky, Mexican-inspired menu items: Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell is shifting gears with a plan to bring its own branded bags of chips to supermarkets and convenience stores.
The chips come in three sizes and three flavors — Mild, Fire and Classic — mimicking the taste of Taco Bell’s signature sauce packets. The chips will debut in retail stores in May, including 7-Eleven stores.
Taco Bell did not disclose which stores will carry the chips, nor did it reveal prices, as the company said each retailer will set the cost per bag.
“This launch of our first line of sauce-packet-inspired chips gives our fans a new way to access a taste of Taco Bell,” said Marisa Thalberg, Taco Bell’s chief brand officer, in a statement. “Our sauce packets are one of the brand’s most unique aspects and were the natural choice for both the flavors and packaging of our tortilla chips.”
The chips’ packaging will come with “familiar sauce packet designs and saucy wisdoms” to ensure they stand out on store shelves.
The Fire and Mild chips will be sold in 1-ounce, 3.5-ounce and 11-ounce bags, while the Classic chips will come in 1-ounce, 3.5-ounce and 13-ounce bags. A 1-ounce bag contains about 5 chips.
Crossing over to retail is not unchartered territory for restaurants. Over the years, chains such as Marie Callender’s, McDonald’s and Starbucks have converted their most popular dishes and drinks into retail items.
Taco Bell has leveraged its menu in the retail sector through a partnership with Kraft that began in early 2013. Walmart stores, for example, sell many Taco-Bell-branded items, including bottled chipotle dressing, taco sauce, taco shells, refried beans and cheese dip.
"However, our launch with tortilla chips is not a collaboration. This was our brand and we wanted to create tortilla chips that stood out as uniquely Taco Bell, in both their sauce packet flavors and packaging," the company told NRN in a statement."Partnering with Sugar Foods allowed us to accomplish this, so our tortilla chips are Taco Bell through and through."
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