Taco Bell is continuing its run of dairy-based beverages thanks to dairy checkoff support.
The chain released the Island Berry Freeze that uses a shelf-stable creamer created by dairy checkoff scientists, Rosemont, Ill.-based Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) said. It is Taco Bell’s third beverage launch featuring the dairy creamer; the chain released the Pineapple Whip Freeze in May of 2020 and the Mountain Dew Baja Blast Colada Freeze last May.
The Island Berry Freeze features a bit of a twist from its predecessors, DMI said, with a creamer infused with a tropical flavor. Offered in blue raspberry or wild strawberry flavors, the beverage is available at participating U.S. Taco Bell restaurants through March 12.
“After the initial success of the Pineapple Whip, it just made sense to build off of that momentum and continue offering beverages that bring a lot of excitement to Taco Bell’s lineup,” said Mike Ciresi, a DMI senior dairy scientist who works with Taco Bell. “Taco Bell is all about bold, exciting flavors, especially with its beverages, and believes the Island Berry Freeze has a flavor that pops and will hit the mark with consumers.”
Another popular Taco Bell item — the Grilled Cheese Burrito — is back on the menu, DMI said. The burrito features a blend of mozzarella, cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, in addition to reduced-fat sour cream, seasoned beef, rice, crunchy red strips and chipotle sauce. A layer of cheese is then grilled around the tortilla to offer a special experience for cheese lovers.
The burrito launched in the summer of 2020 and re-entered Taco Bell’s menu last fall with a double steak option. This time, the original version is back for a limited time, and Ciresi expects it will be a hit with consumers.
“The Grilled Cheese Burrito continues to do so well,” Ciresi said. “I am excited it’s back on the menu, and I’m sure Taco Bell fans are as well.”
Heather Mottershaw, vice president of pipeline innovation and product development for Taco Bell, reiterated how popular these dairy-centric items are with customers.
“We understand how much dairy enhances our menu in terms of innovation and flavor, and it’s supported by the response we get from our customers,” Mottershaw said. “We’re grateful to have checkoff scientists working side-by-side with our team to continue pushing the envelope with items featuring dairy.”
While sales results of products created with checkoff support are proprietary, Emily Bourdet, vice president of global innovation partnerships for DMI, said the results of all checkoff partners, including at Taco Bell, are making a difference. She said there have been 2 billion pounds of milk-equivalent growth overall since the start of the partnerships work, and each partner averages about 3% annual growth in dairy volume.
“In Taco Bell’s case, it’s the innovation that leads to success,” Bourdet said. “From the beginning of the partnership to today, our on-site scientists at Taco Bell have changed the game for how to incorporate dairy and creating excitement for Taco Bell fans.”
For information about the dairy checkoff, visit www.usdairy.com.