Taco Bell Doritos flavor coming soon

Yum Brands and Frito-Lay join forces again after Doritos Locos Tacos take off.

By Jason Notte Feb 1, 2013 9:18AM
File photo of a bag of Doritos among other chips, at a kiosk in New York (Mark Lennihan/AP Photo)The line between Doritos and Taco Bell continues to blur into a formless, semi-orange blob that shifts shape based on the whims of its ravenous, gluttonous and often judgment-impaired patrons.

PepsiCo's (PEP) Frito-Lay has decided to just keep feeding that late-night monster by introducing a Taco Bell flavor of Doritos this spring.

The launch will mark the roughly one-year anniversary of Yum Brands' (YUM) Taco Bell embracing its slack-eyed clientele's darkest food fantasies and wrapping a Nacho Cheese Doritos shell around its taco ingredients. The chain has since sold more than 300 million Doritos Locos Tacos, airlifted some to a remote town in Alaska and planned a follow-up Cool Ranch varietal.

Doritos Locos Tacos now account for roughly a quarter of Taco Bell's taco sales and have boosted Frito Lay's bottom line after the company began supplying shells -- which started out as standard-issue Taco Bell shells sprayed with seasoning. The new Taco Bell Doritos, meanwhile, means hordes of folks with the munchies will have to let go of their comeback hopes for Doritos Late Night: Tacos At Midnight, which first appeared in 2008 before bowing out in 2010.

It also could mean that retro snackers will have to part with Taco Flavor Doritos and their straight-from-the-'70s bags. Don't expect many tears, though. The same demand that's driving Doritos' Taco Bell chips is also spawning new Doritos tacos, including a spicy "Flamos" variety, and an increasing amount of collaboration between Taco Bell and PepsiCo.

The two companies already have a fairly involved back story. PepsiCo bought Taco Bell from founder George Bell back in 1978 for $124 million. When PepsiCo decided to get out of the restaurant industry in 1997, it spun off Taco Bell and its other holdings into Yum Brands while maintaining a cozy relationship with its food court friends.

Today, PepsiCo and Taco Bell not only joined forces on Doritos Locos tacos, but work together on Taco Bell-specific sodas like Mountain Dew Baja Blast and the MTN DEW A.M. Mountain-Dew-and-orange-juice concoction on the restaurant's recently debuted breakfast menu. They're not only using their mad munchie science to feed America at all hours, but they're conspiring to keep it awake as long as possible.

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