Earlier this year, Klondike sent ice cream fanatics over the edge when they announced the discontinuation of a 40-year-old dairy treat. As of July 25, 2022, the Choco Taco is no longer being manufactured or sold by Klondike.
“Over the past two years, we have 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,” Klondike Consumer Services said. “A necessary but unfortunate part of this process is that we sometimes must discontinue products, even a beloved item like Choco Taco.”
They also said that they know this is disappointing and are encouraging their consumers to try their other frozen treats, including Klondike Cones, Shakes, Sandwiches, and their signature bar.
Just a few weeks later, the company appeared to be rescinding its decision, saying it was exploring options to supply Choco Tacos in some form to ice cream trucks.
History of the Choco Taco
The first time that the Choco Taco made its appearance was in 1983. It was invented in Philadelphia by Alan Drazen, Senior Vice President of the Jack and Jill Ice Cream Company. The company sold it exclusively through their ice cream trucks, mostly in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and surrounding areas. Then in 1989, Unilever/Good Humor bought the company Jack and Jill were using to manufacture the Chaco Taco – and suddenly it was in convenience stores everywhere.
After a short stint in Taco Bell, in 1993, Unilever bought Klondike and shifted the Chaco Taco under their brand, eventually promoted in 1996 at the Supermarket Industry Convention in Chicago as “America’s coolest taco.”
In 1999, the company improved the product, incorporated the shell, and introduced new packaging. In 1999, the company introduced Klondike Cookies and Cream Choco Taco. This contained cookies and cream ice cream and was covered in cookie pieces.
Unilever also owns Breyers, Ben and Jerry's, and Talenti.
Although the company said in a Tweet earlier this month about having 912 tacos left in HQ, they have been reticent about any other news. So the fate of this delicious frozen dessert is unclear, and if it will ever indeed return.
Fans Saddened by the News
Nick Bolshaw, the founder of Inyouths LED Mirrors, one of the leading manufacturers and designers of LED mirrors, was saddened by the news when he heard about the discontinuation.
“The Klondike Choco Taco was a significant part of my formative years,” Bolshaw said. “I first got a taste of it when I was nine years old. I remember being so excited when my mom would buy them for me as a special treat.”
Bolshaw said he was heartbroken when they were discontinued but was elated when he heard the company announce that they hope to deliver it back in the coming year.
“I think people are so upset about the discontinuation of the Choco Taco because it was a childhood favorite, just like mine,” Bolshaw said. “It’s something that brings back happy memories for a lot of people. I think Klondike did a really smart thing by listening to the clamor because it’s a great way to show their customers that they care about what they want.”
Bolshaw said that although the company says it will return in the upcoming years, it is not a concrete guarantee that it will.
“Depending on the reactions and how long they will last, the longer it stays in the public’s mind, the more likely they will be forced to bring it back,” he said.
Others Could Care Less
Micah Klug, an author, owner, and content curator of Home Faith Family, where she helps families strengthen their relationships, has been doing that for the past ten years. She has also been featured on Parents, Money Saving Mom, and Deseret News, among other publications.
In addition to writing about families, she is a mother of five kids under nine years old and says she feels indifferent about the Choco Taco being pulled from the shelves.
“It’s not really my favorite chocolate frozen dessert, so I’m not too disappointed that it’s no longer available,” Klug said. “However, I can understand how some people might be upset about its discontinuation since it’s not a very common frozen dessert and can be pretty hard to find.”
Klug said this Klondike announcement feels similar to when Hostess announced the Twinkie discontinuation. If you don't recall, in 2012, Hostess announced it was filing for bankruptcy. After understandable outrage over the loss of the yellow spongy cake, remaining boxes were sold on eBay for many times their actual value. All of that proved naught when private equity came in and rescued Hostess, which retooled and slimmed down, then resumed production on Twinkies and their other snack cakes just four years later.
“The sales for Twinkies skyrocketed because people buy when there is a perceived scarcity of an item,” Klug said. “So, if the announcement from Klondike increases sales for the company, then they may continue selling the Choco Taco to meet consumer demands. Otherwise, people can say goodbye to this often overlooked ice cream dessert.”
In late August, Choco Taco “took over” the Klondike Twitter feed, sharing, “I’m being discontinued; it’s not a PR stunt. I knew you loved me, but not quite. We are discussing the next steps, including the last 912 (we counted) tacos at HQ. Stay tuned…”
Those 912 Choco Tacos were passed out to loyal fans in a series of 4 contests, with the final 100 tacos awarded to clever Instagrammers who solved a Klondike company-sponsored scavenger hunt.
Jack and Jill, now primarily a distributor for Unilever and Nestle products through their mobile food units, still holds the patent for Choco Tacos. But so far, there's been no more word on Chaco Tacos returning to their roots in ice cream trucks from either company.
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