Discontinuing Childhood Treats


The inventor of the Choco Taco, Alan Drazen, posing with his fan-favorite dessert during an interview on August 6, 2017 in Eater’s studio. (Eater)

Written By Tommy Beason

With hunger calling your name and your stomach rumbling, only one food can perfectly solve that hunger, a Choco Taco. Ice cream and tacos, two completely different foods, lead to a tasty combination which always fills the void. The Choco Taco: a softer taco shell, filled with ice cream, and topped with a thin layer of chocolate and nuts. Everything about the Choco Taco screams perfection. A major flaw to many forms of tacos, the shell breaking after the first bite, does not appear a problem for Choco Tacos. The shell gives a firm, but not hard, outside layer to the ice cream, giving the dessert structure and protecting the consumer’s teeth from ice cream’s frozen bite. If eaten correctly, the chocolate will be preserved throughout the entirety of the treat, which gives the vanilla ice cream a little pizzazz. The correct way to eat them: turning the taco sideways and beginning the consumption at one end, then making your way to the other end as the finale. Choco Tacos can be enjoyed slowly but because they contain ice cream, eating them quickly is a less messy solution. Once finished with the treat, your hunger will be perfectly solved and your taste buds will explode with joy.
For me, the Choco Taco was my go-to choice for ice cream whenever I went to the pool. At my pool, there was always a ten-minute adult-swim that occurred at the tail end of every hour. When the lifeguard blew the whistle that signified the adult swim, I would rush out of the water and sprint over to the snack shack. No towel, no need to dry off, my only focus was on the delicious dessert. Usually, I was among the first in line but not the first to purchase a Choco Taco. I would say about 80% of the kids who chose ice cream made the same selection that I did. That selection went on for years and years until a sad day that came about recently.
On July 25, 2022, the nation found out some heartbreaking news; this fan-favorite ice cream treat was discontinued. Since 1983, Klondike’s Choco Taco has earned its rightful place as a solid summer staple delight, but after thirty-nine years of success, the company decided to take their product off the market. Across the country, rumors spread of these plans and on that fateful night late in July, their fears were confirmed. Klondike sent out a Tweet explaining it planned to focus on other priorities; this confirmation shattered the hearts of many frozen treat fans. “We’ve experienced an unprecedented spike in demand across our portfolio,” Klondike said, “and have had to make very tough decisions to ensure availability of our full portfolio nationwide.” A common thought ran through the minds of many Choco Taco fans: Why??? Everyone obviously loved the Choco Taco, so why discontinue a top-seller? Considering the massive popularity of the treat, it seemed shocking that Klondike would simply Tweet out the cessation of its production without recognizing the backlash that would follow.
Fans responded against Klondike on Twitter with swift frustration and anger. A user by the name of Fergzilla did not hold back with his threat against the company. “How dare you,” Fergzilla said, “I will never buy another Klondike product until choco taco [sic] is brought back.” This user took the news very personally and even went so far as boycotting the company’s products. Although losing one customer would not sink Klondike’s bottom line, if the masses rallied around a central idea of a boycott, the company could begin to feel the repercussions of the Choco Taco decision. Another response to Klondike came from a user by the name of cgb86b. He expressed hostility towards Klondike’s other products when measured against the superior merits of the beloved Choco Taco. “Klondike was feeling the pressure because they knew their [sic] their boring ice cream bar could never compete with the Choco taco.” He said, “R.I.P. to my favorite frozen snack.” There are countless other responses to Klondike’s Tweet, with all of them appearing to be negative and in favor of the company returning the dessert to the shelves. With so many choices on the market today, it might be easy to write off cgb86b’s calling the Choco Taco his “favorite snack” hyperbole, but those reactions (along with many others) support the profound impact a memorable treat can have on someone’s life.

The original 1983 Choco Taco packaging, made of metallized polypropylene in order to deliver the product in a better manner, is still used all over the world to this day. (Shutterstock/Keith Homan, New York Times)

For many teenagers, the Choco Taco recalls shared experiences with friends or family and summertime memories associated with sharing the treat. Some members of the Latin Upper School community even expressed their nostalgic feelings of sadness towards Klondike’s decision to discontinue the Choco Taco. Ellie Chai ‘23 recalls many fun moments associated with the crunchy and chocolaty refreshment that she can never experience again. “I always eat them when I go to the beach,” Chai said, “and it makes me sad because the summer memories can’t happen anymore.” Matt Cohen ‘24 also recalled summer experiences that included the Choco Taco. “My friends and I would bike to the gas station,” Cohen said, “and we would always get Choco Tacos.” The best occasions for these sweets seemed to be on hot summer days, but don’t get it twisted; they can also be enjoyed throughout the year too. Rossi Bellavia ‘25 remembered times at Latin when he and his friends would all eat the ice cream together. “They remind me of lunch in eighth grade with my friends, when Flik sold them at Latin,” Bellavia said, “and they were so good.” These students might be the last generation of Hawks to create such treasured memories around the Choco Taco. Future generations likely won’t ever understand the reference to the snack or the memories associated with it.
Based on social media, news coverage and other published information the masses have clearly expressed their longing for one more delicious bite of the Choco Taco. Instacart, the American grocery delivery and pick-up service, reported a huge uptick in searches for the Choco Taco. Their website tracks product searches and was able to track down the searches for the Choco Taco, just after the discontinuation. On July 26, Instacart reported that the week-over-week searches had gone up by 30,000%. According to Laurentia Romaniuk, one of Instacart’s trends experts, it is no surprise that the percentage of searches has skyrocketed. “As an ice cream truck favorite,” Romaniuk said, “it’s no surprise that the news of the Choco Taco being discontinued nearly broke the Internet and ignited a movement for consumers to search for and enjoy their favorite childhood treat one last time.” The public rushed to the internet for a final taste of the treat but many questioned whether the treat was really gone for good. A conspiracy theory around the country arose after the discontinuation: did Klondike get rid of the Choco Taco just to bring it back and bring in more revenue? If Klondike chooses to bring back the Choco Taco, how much money will they make? The discontinuation may be a business move but regardless, the dessert is gone for now.

Childhood snacks and treats will always have some sort of emotional value, causing nostalgia and remembrance of special times. When those childhood goodies are no longer available to the public, where does the memory go? Many hope that the Choco Taco does come back and its deliciousness can continue to be enjoyed. The memory has not left the mind of many up to this point, but as time goes by, the population will lessen its longing for another bite. What is Klondike’s next move? Will the childhood memories truly never be able to happen again? Or will Klondike bring back the treat and make the Choco Taco lovers happy? This topic is surely one to follow over the next couple weeks but I know I have an opinion: I want Choco Tacos to come back so I can go to the pool and eat one; and while I am eating, I will remember all of the fun that I used to have with eating the unique delights that are called Choco Tacos.