Why the Choco Taco's Demise Hits Home
It's the nostalgia that gets to us
It’s the middle of July, the United States is experiencing an intense heatwave, and we all could use a delicious ice cream treat about now.
Naturally, that makes it a strange time for a company to announce the demise of a beloved product that’s been a favorite of kids for four decades. But, that’s precisely what Klondike did when it made the childhood-crushing announcement that it would no longer make the Choco Taco. The company Tweeted the following on July 25: “Unfortunately, the Klondike Choco Taco has been discontinued. We've experienced an unprecedented spike in demand across our portfolio and have had to make very tough decisions to ensure availability of our full portfolio nationwide. We're very sorry for any disappointment!”
The Twitterverse went into a frenzy, with people asking for a reprieve for the frozen treat.
Author Stephen King Tweeted about the death of the treat, comparing it to the end of society: “If Choco Tacos are gone, what’s next? Hershey Pies? Salt and vinegar potato chips? Baseball? AMERICAN DEMOCRACY? I tell you: this is how it starts.”
That’s the thing with the foods of our youth: they hold a special place in our hearts.
When Hostess announced it would stop making Twinkies, it was like the world was ending to some people — including me. As a kid, I was allergic to chocolate and nuts, so my go-to treat was a Twinkie with its squishy texture and somewhat bland taste of sponge cake and sugar. As a young adult in my first apartment, I reacquainted myself with the Twinkie — stopping by the local gas station each morning to get a coffee and a package of Twinkies — my budget version of Starbucks and a scone. When the Twinkie ending was announced, I was shook. Now that they’ve returned, I’ll admit I don’t partake very often, though passing the box on the supermarket shelf always brings a smile to my face.
In the Choco Taco’s case, however, there’s something more than nostalgia going on. The dessert, comprised of vanilla ice cream sandwiched inside a taco-shaped cone, then topped with chocolate and nuts, seems like a favorite among culinarians.
Andrew Zimmern Tweeted, “This is insanity. Look at the Klondike portfolio and tell me you would discontinue what is arguably the best quiescently frozen dessert treat ever??? Get rid of the Cone Zone or the Cookies n’ Cream sandwich instead! We need our Choco Tacos.”
Miami chef Michael Beltran, whose Coconut Grove restaurant, Ariete, was just awarded a Michelin star, says he’s had a “lifelong love affair” with the Choco Taco, adding that the novelty taco shell is “almost a perfect vessel for ice cream”.
“There’s very smart engineering behind that,” says Beltran, who admires this childhood treat with the eyes of a seasoned chef.
Will the Choco Taco be saved from the dessert graveyard? Will it make a return in much the same way the Twinkie did? Already, the folks at Klondike seem to be second-guessing their decision. A second Tweet said as much: “We know Choco Taco is a huge fan favorite and a top seller for our out-of-home business, so this is particularly painful. We're working hard to find a way to bring Choco Taco back to ice cream trucks in the coming years.”
In the meantime, a quick Google search shows that places like Family Dollar Store, 7-Eleven, and CVS still have Choco Tacos in stock, so hurry and pick some up for a last bite of nostalgia for a while. Alternately, you can make a batch yourself (Imperial Sugar has a recipe for a DIY version here).
A PR stunt, perhaps?
A wokenista in a VP slot?
The world may never know.