Taco Bell previewed 2024 for fans on Friday, a future that includes Crunchwraps made with giant Cheez-its, chicken nuggets and possibly permanent Nacho Fries.
Shakes, previewed in December at two Orange County restaurants, are coming, according to chief food innovation officer Liz Matthews.
“We keep chasing the ideas until we do something amazing,” said Matthews, who shared more of “what’s going on behind the doors of the test kitchen.”
Among the concepts were a triple-decker taco with a third shell of jack and cheddar cheese; a partnership with Beekeeper Coffee on a horchata latte; a partnership with Salt & Straw for a dessert reminiscent of the discontinued Choco Taco; a combination of a chimichanga and a Chalupa; elote queso; Baja Blast pie; Cinnamon Twists dusted with Baja Blast flavor; and additions to the vegan menu.
Chief marketing officer Taylor Montgomery appeared near the end for what MC Armani White called the “big reveal,” all of Taco Bell’s product innovation for 2024.
“Tonight we get to be the leak,” he said.
Among them were revelations about Nacho Fries, a wildly popular limited time offer that has been regularly returning since its launch in 2018.
“We’re going to have Nacho Fries in our restaurants longer than we’ve ever had them before,” he said. “While we haven’t fully figured it out, we want to make them permanent.”
He also said Nacho Fries would be coming back with a new hot sauce in partnership with Portland, Oregon.-based Secret Aardvark and that there will be tests of Tajin tacos, Twists and a Freeze.
He was more definite about a cheesy chicken “riff” on an empanada he said is coming to “every single Taco Bell” next Thursday.
He confirmed rumors that Taco Bell chicken nuggets with new sauces are on the way, “all white meat marinated in jalapeño buttermilk,” with two sauces, a “signature Bell Sauce” and jalapeño honey mustard.
Other revelations included an addition to the new Cravings Value Menu, a chicken and steak grilled cheese dipping taco; a cheesy Chalupa version of a street taco with carne asada and cilantro; dulce de leche Cinnabon Delights; Baja Blast gelato coming to restaurants this summer; and redesigned sauce packets.
He teased a “Chicken Cantina” menu that will be introduced “next year” without revealing what items it would include except for a new avocado verde salsa. An accompanying video showed quesadillas, tacos and burritos.
And he said that loyalty members will get to vote on which retired menu item they would like to return around Halloween: the Meximelt or the Caramel Apple Empanada.
Montgomery’s final reveal was a Crunchwrap built around a giant Cheez-It, 16 times the size of a regular cracker. Taco Bell has been working on a Cheez-It mashup for a long time. Last winter it previewed a Cheez-It tostada for social media influencers in Taco Bell’s Irvine test kitchen.
The program also included a greeting by chief executive officer Sean Tresvant, musical performances and an award ceremony honoring the fan community Living Más and its founder, Blake Hundley.