Q&A with Taco Bell

by Donna Berry
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Taco Bell announced the nationwide roll out of its Naked Chicken Chalupa.
Naked Chips, like the Naked Chicken Chalupa, are made of marinated white-meat chicken enhanced with bold Mexican spices and seasoning.
 
In early May, Naked Chicken returned to Taco Bell restaurants nationwide as a limited-offering six-week menu item. This time the chicken resembles triangular tortilla chips, truly turning breaded chicken into a snack food.

Like its predecessor, the Naked Chicken Chalupa, which featured a taco shell made entirely of crispy chicken, Naked Chicken Chips are made of marinated, all-white-meat chicken kicked up with bold Mexican spices and seasoning. At a pre-launch party at the Taco Bell Cantina in Chicago, an upscale version of the chain that serves alcohol, Meat + Poultry spoke with Matt Prince, brand engagement manager for Taco Bell.

M+P: What was the motivation for the development of the original Naked Chicken Chalupa and now the Naked Chicken Chips?

Matt Prince, Taco Bell
Matt Prince, brand engagement manager, Taco Bell

Matt Prince: We’re always looking for ways to innovate and spice up traditional Mexican-inspired food with a Taco Bell twist. More importantly, we’re always listening to our customers and seeking ways to make food a fun, affordable and unique experience. After the popularity of the Naked Chicken Chalupa, we are excited to debut our next craveable crispy chicken innovation. The chips are another unique and delicious way for our fans to enjoy fried chicken paired with our classic nacho cheese sauce.

M+P: What’s with the name Naked Chicken?

Taco Bell Naked Chicken chips and cheese dip
 

Prince: We are committed to serving up bold combinations made with simple ingredients. Naked Chicken Chips do not include any artificial colors or flavors. Also, the chicken sourced for the product—like all chicken we serve—does not include any antibiotics important to human medicine.

M+P: How long did it take to go from concept to market?

Prince: While I can’t share exact timing on the concept of the chips, the Naked Chicken concept began back in 2015 with testing in California, and the chips were also in market previously as a test. Based on the feedback they received during that time, and given the success we saw from the Naked Chicken Chalupa, we knew we had to bring them nationwide.

M+P: Are there more Naked Chicken concepts on the horizon?

Prince: At Taco Bell, we love trying new things—and there’s always room for evolutions—to bring more choices, simplify ingredients and deliver big, bold flavors and unexpected food combos. Limited-time offers allow us to try a multitude of new menu items. We’re always listening to our fans so you never know when a popular product will return to menus.

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