We gather today to mourn the loss of one of the finest ice cream creations to ever grace our dessert plates: the Choco Taco. This treat is intrinsically tied to childhood memories of chasing down an ice cream truck, breathlessly demanding a Choco Taco from the driver, having him say, “Are you sure you don’t want to try something else this time?” and you respond, deadly serious, “Give me a Choco Taco or I will slash your tires,” as this adult man, terrified, hands you, a 12-year old child with the deranged look of a madman, what you most desire. This is something we can all relate to, correct? Sadly,our children will not have this experience. Let’s find out together why we now live in this sad, sick, Choco Taco-less world.
What is a Choco Taco?
The Choco Taco is yet another ingenious invention from my hometown of Philadelphia. In 1984, The Jack and Jill Ice Cream Company, famous for their ubiquitous summer ice cream trucks, created and began selling the Choco Taco in their trucks and convenience stores. The Choco Taco is a novelty ice cream made of a waffle cone that is shaped like a hard taco shell. It’s then filled with vanilla ice cream swirled with chocolate fudge and topped with peanuts and a hard chocolate candy shell. Its design is brilliant. Its taste is exquisite. Everything about it is perfect.
The Choco Taco was truly a regional phenomenon until 1989, when the Good Humor brand bought the production company that Jack and Jill was using to make the Choco Tacos. Now that Good Humor owned the production rights, they ramped up production, making Choco Tacos available in nearly 30,000 convenience store freezers around the country. Klondike, which was owned by the same company as Good Humor, became the primary brand producer of Choco Taco, resulting in the label saying “Klondike Choco Taco.”
Why did they discontinue the Choco Taco?
If you can’t tell from the convoluted production history above, the Choco Taco has changed hands quite a bit. It used to be that all these different brands of ice cream—Good Humor, Breyer’s, Klondike, Popsicle, Ben & Jerry’s—were independent companies. They made their products, sold them locally or nationally, and that was it. But now we are living in the age of Big Business, so every single ice cream brand mentioned in this article is owned by Unilever, a massive, consumer goods operation that also owns Hellman’s, Q-Tips, Vaseline, Axe Body Spray, Lipton, Noxzema, and dozens of other brands.
The Choco Taco, which was literally only sold out of trucks on the East Coast when it first started, soon became subject to the whims of a heartless global entity. Any care that once went into the product was sacrificed for a bottom line.
In 2022, Good Humor-Breyers, the ice cream division of Unilever, made the decision to discontinue Choco Taco, using the pandemic as an excuse. Many companies pared down their product offerings during that time as a cost-saving measure. Good Humor-Breyers said they had to axe the Choco Taco so they could focus on their other products that have higher demand. We, the fans, are left to wonder if this axing wasn’t to preserve the production of Axe Body Spray. Meanwhile, the average consumer suffers. Personally, the lack of Choco Tacos in the latter half of the pandemic made me miserable.
Are Choco Tacos coming back?
It is possible the Choco Taco will rise from the dead, but there are no guarantees. Thanks to fan outrage, Klondike had to do some PR spin on their announcement, saying that they “listened to fans and are looking for ways to bring it back.” But there is really no plan in place to do so that we know of.
In reality, what we are seeing is a mega-corporation play with our emotions like a cat pawing at a dead bird. They’re dangling the little carrot of hope in front of us that the Choco Taco will make a comeback, but they don’t really care. Meanwhile, people everywhere (me specifically) are heartbroken (absolutely despondent and bed-ridden) over the destruction of their precious childhood memories (my personal fat kid summers). Shame on you, Unilever. SHAME!