Taco Bell is known for Mexican-inspired fare like tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. However, the fast food chain is now looking to expand beyond its traditional menu with the test of a new item – chicken nuggets.
Taco Bell has launched a test of Crispy Chicken Nuggets in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area of Minnesota. The nuggets are made with all-white chicken breast meat that has been marinated in a spiced jalapeño buttermilk mixture for at least 24 hours. They are then breaded and fried until crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
Early reviews of the new nuggets have been positive. One reviewer said the nuggets have a “distinctive kick” from the jalapeño buttermilk marinade and are some of the best fast food nuggets they have tried. With other fast food chains like McDonald’s long dominating the chicken nugget category, Taco Bell believes its nuggets have the potential to stand out from the competition.
Taco Bell executives have been vocal that these nuggets are made from “real chicken” compared to competitors’ offerings. When announcing the test, one Taco Bell representative directly referenced rivals like McDonald’s, implying their nuggets contain artificial ingredients or fillers. Whether this is true or just marketing speak remains to be seen.
Chicken nuggets have become ubiquitous in the fast food world. Around 35% of top quick service restaurant chains offer nuggets on their menus. Taco Bell clearly sees an opportunity by jumping into this popular category. However, with giants like McDonald’s dominating chicken nugget sales for decades, it remains to be seen if Taco Bell’s version can gain meaningful market share.
The test in Minneapolis will give Taco Bell valuable data on how customers respond. Their target audience is likely those looking for a convenient snack or kids’ meal option, not just traditional Taco Bell fans. Early sales will be key in determining if a wider nationwide rollout is warranted.
If successful, chicken nuggets could provide a new revenue stream for Taco Bell. But breaking into an established category with heavyweights will be challenging. Taco Bell will need to leverage its reputation for unique flavors to truly differentiate its nuggets. Ongoing improvements to things like seasoning, breading, and cooking methodology may also be necessary based on customer feedback.
Only time will tell if Taco Bell’s chicken nugget experiment will be a long term success. However, the brand seems committed to innovation beyond its Mexican roots. For those tired of the same old fast food nuggets, Taco Bell believes its spicy alternative could be a game changer. The results of the Minneapolis test will offer valuable insight into the future of this new menu addition.
I don’t know why Taco Bell is doing chicken nuggets, but they’re really good. pic.twitter.com/TQeqW9pWjO— Joe (@JoeAlv) October 15, 2023