The latest stats for Taco Bell's wildly popular Doritos Locos Tacos are in, and they're even more astounding than we'd expected.
Last we heard in June, the chain had sold 100 million of them, making it its most popular product launch ever. Now, that number has doubled to about 200 million -- a particularly incredible feat considering the product was only introduced in March.
For the uninitiated, the Doritos Locos taco features a shell flavored with the iconic chip, which is stuffed with seasoned beef, lettuce and tomatoes. Looking to cash in on the product's success, Taco Bell hope to roll out two new flavors now being tested in various locations -- Flamas and Cool Ranch -- although nothing is certain just yet.
The OC Register's fast food reporter, Nancy Luna, recently sampled both flavors at an Orange County Taco Bell in California, which is participating in trials:
During the taste test, I enjoyed the chili lime flavor of the Flamas taco shell over the less interesting Cool Ranch shell. The Flamas offered a two-dimensional flavor experience. At first, you taste a hint of lime with a bit of classic dusty red Doritos spice. Then, a blast of heat follows a few seconds later. It's a great pairing with Taco Bell's signature seasoned beef.
Luna writes that it's been widely speculated that Cool Ranch will be the next flavor, although Taco Bell has not acknowledged those reports. The chain is testing another product, as well: a frozen version of Taco Bell's exclusive Mountain Dew Baja Blast drink.
Taco Bell doesn't seem to be taking any chances with a Doritos Locos slowdown, either. A new television ad campaign for the product features user-uploaded Instagram photos and the tagline "no matter how hard you try, pictures just don’t do it justice" and "taking tacos where no one thought they would go."
Business Insider contributor Ryan Spoon writes that he finds the commercial "fun, social, and conveys how popular and unique the product has been."
Get a load of Doritos Locos Instagram commercial in the video below.
Also on HuffPost:
Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco
<strong>The Method:</strong> The one that started it all uses a proprietary taco shell-shaped Doritos chip as its wrapper, and comes swathed in a special cardboard holder to prevent Doritos powder from coating eaters' hands. <strong>The Verdict:</strong> Very positive reviews all around; most agreed that the tacos had been improved by the extra salt and savoriness of the Doritos shell. The biggest complaint was that there wasn't enough Doritos flavor -- it seemed as if the seasoning had been tamped down vis-a-vis the normal chips. To solve this problem, we tried adding more Doritos in the middle of the taco. It didn't help.
Cosi Signature Salad
<strong>The Method:</strong> We tossed crumbled Doritos into Cosi's signature salad, which contains mixed greens, gorgonzola and cranberries. <strong>The Verdict:</strong> Pretty solid! The chips added some much needed saltiness and crunch to what is usually a sweet, mushy salad. On the other hand, the signature Doritos flavor didn't really stand up to the salad's vinaigrette and ingredients; almost any chip would have improved the salad. In the words of one taster, "Since there is blue cheese in the salad, it feels like the two are competing for attention."
<strong>The Method:</strong> Since we were too bashful to ask our Chipotle assembly line wrapper to crumble the Doritos into the middle of the burrito, we ended up stuffing it ourselves ex post wrappo. <strong>The Verdict:</strong> Funny! But not good-tasting, sadly. One taster said that the pairing was "good texturally," but most agreed that the subtle, natural flavors of a Chipotle burrito clashed with the artificiality of Doritos.
Wendy's French Fries
<strong>The Method:</strong> Grind the chips into a powder, then shake them up with the fries to coat them evenly. <strong>The Verdict:</strong> Possibly the worst of the pairings. One taster compared them to "dry cheese fries," while another noted that, "Ketchup does not go with Doritos." Blech!
McDonald's Big Mac
<strong>The Method:</strong> Added whole Doritos on top of both the burger's beef patties. <strong>The Verdict:</strong> Bravo! Most tasters agreed that this was almost as good a match as Eddard and Catelyn Stark on "Game of Thrones." (Full disclosure: they did not use a "Song of Ice and Fire" analogy to convey their enthusiasm.) One said, "The creamy sauce complements the crunchy texture of the chips," which, another added, "makes it more satisfying, because usually it's one-dimensional."
McDonald's Chicken McNuggets
<strong>The Method:</strong> We stuck Doritos into the McNuggets, as our photographer put it, "like shards of glass." <strong>The Verdict:</strong> These were divisive. Some tasters hated the combo, finding the McNugget flavor and texture overpowering. But others said that dipping the Doritos-adorned nuggets into barbecue sauce made for a revelatory melding of flavors.
Subway Spicy Italian Sub
<strong>The Method:</strong> Lay whole chips right up in the middle of the sub. <strong>The Verdict:</strong> One of the better matches. One taster even called it "delicious," noting that salami and Doritos have mutually beneficial flavor profiles. Another taster, though, quipped that, "This does not taste discernibly different because normally when I eat a Subway sandwich I'm also stuffing Doritos in my face." (It's not clear that this was a criticism.)
Dunkin' Donuts Glazed Donuts
<strong>The Method:</strong> Because we had three donuts, we decided to try a few things... we stuck them in as with the McNuggets, we stuffed them in the middle as with the Big Mac and we sprinkled their crumbs on top as with the Wendy's Fries. <strong>The Verdict:</strong> Another divisive dish. Though one taster praised the Doritos donuts for their "nice cheesecake taste," others picked up artificial, bitter flavors that they said ruined the meld. Everyone thought they LOOKED awesome though!