“When I started at Taco Bell 10 years ago, there was this idea of the cheese-stuffed taco,” stated Steven Gomez who heads up the franchises’ Food and Beverage Innovation Team. “It always caught my attention. However, nearly everyone we talked to about it thought it was too challenging to commercialize. That repeatedly put the idea on the back burner.
“Yet, the idea kept staring at me. ‘I hope we can crack the code on this idea one day,’ I kept saying to myself because it could be a big idea,” said the product specialist whose chain boasts $8.7 billion in annual sales.
“We finally got to the place were we had a few prototypes,” said Gomez. “That begged the question, ‘Can we commercialize it (the cheese-stuffed taco) through supplier partnerships and DMI?’” Of course the DMI Gomez references is Dairy Management Inc. and the national dairy checkoff funded by dairy farmers.
“The DMI partnership allowed us to place a dedicated resource on the Quesalupa project,” said Gomez, noting the trade name assigned to the cheese-fused taco. To bring the product to life, Taco Bell had to make a machine to take two tortilla taco shells and fuse them together after a dash of Pepper Jack cheese was placed between them.
To learn more about DMI’s role in creating the Quesalupa and other Taco Bell products, listen to audio comments from Taco Bell’s Heather Mottershaw, who is senior director of innovation and quality assurance on its Food and Beverage Team. A note to the listeners, at times there are questions from Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor Corey Geiger.
This Hoard’s Dairyman Intel article is part of an eight-part Dairy Food Maker series with Taco Bell. It details a partnership that began with Taco Bell and Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) in 2012 and continues to this day with Dairy Checkoff dairy scientists working directly at Taco Bell’s headquarters in the greater Los Angeles, Calif., area.
Click here to view previous reports from this Taco Bell series:
Cheese glues tortilla shells together
Cheese pull captures consumers
To read more about the Taco Bell experience and the organization’s partnership with dairy farmers, turn to pages 648 and 649 of the October 25 issue of Hoard’s Dairyman for the Food Maker series.
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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2016
November 7, 2016