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Why are Nacho Fries gone?

Nacho Fries from Taco Bell have become an immensely popular menu item since they were first introduced as a limited-time offer in January 2018. These crispy fries are coated in a nacho cheese sauce and come with a side of Taco Bell’s tangy nacho cheese dipping sauce. Nacho Fries have developed a cult following among Taco Bell fans, who eagerly await their return whenever they disappear from the menu.

The History of Nacho Fries

Taco Bell first tested Nacho Fries in West Virginia in early January 2018 before launching them nationwide on January 25, 2018 for a limited 5-week run. Their debut was a tremendous success, becoming the chain’s most successful product launch in its history. Nacho Fries sold over 53 million orders during their short 5-week stint, exceeding Taco Bell’s internal sales projections.

In March 2018, Nacho Fries were brought back for a sequel limited-time offer due to popular demand. For their first encore, Nacho Fries were available for just over a month. In July 2018, Nacho Fries made a return yet again, this time accompanied by $1 Nacho Fries Supreme Tacos. A fourth serving of Nacho Fries landed in November 2018. In January 2019, Nacho Fries came back to kick off their 2019 tour. The sequel promotions typically lasted 4-6 weeks.

Nacho Fries have continued to make limited-time appearances on the Taco Bell menu, usually returning every few months. Their frequent disappearances and encores have become part of the appeal and hype. Taco Bell seems to have embraced the Nacho Fries phenomenon, using provocative taglines like “They’re Back” and “The Craving Is Real” in promotions.

Why Taco Bell Brings Nacho Fries Back for Limited Time

There are a few key strategic reasons why Taco Bell only offers Nacho Fries for limited periods:

  • To create urgency and excitement – When a popular food item is only available for a short time, it generates hype, word-of-mouth, and urgency to visit Taco Bell before Nacho Fries disappear again.
  • To encourage more frequent visits – Nacho Fries bring loyal Taco Bell fans through the door during their limited-time stints. This increases overall visits and sales.
  • To upsell customers – Nacho Fries are positioned as an add-on item to purchase in addition to usual Taco Bell purchases. This results in larger average orders and total spending per visit.
  • To achieve scarcity marketing – Scarcity feeds demand. People value something more when supplies are limited. This makes the next return of Nacho Fries feel like a special event that shouldn’t be missed.

By making Nacho Fries limited-edition, Taco Bell taps into consumer psychology to drive sales, traffic, and hype. This promotional strategy works – Nacho Fries have been Taco Bell’s most successful new product, selling over 100 million orders across their short-term releases so far.

When Will Nacho Fries Be Back Again?

Predicting Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries calendar can be difficult since their return dates are intentionally random and unannounced. However, based on past patterns, we can expect Nacho Fries to return for another limited engagement sometime soon in 2023.

Here is a look at when Nacho Fries have been available since their January 2018 launch:

Return Date Days Available
January 25, 2018 35 days
March 15, 2018 39 days
July 12, 2018 42 days
November 15, 2018 42 days
January 24, 2019 35 days
April 25, 2019 42 days
September 12, 2019 42 days
June 18, 2020 6 weeks
September 24, 2020 6 weeks
December 30, 2020 6 weeks
March 11, 2021 6 weeks
June 24, 2021 6 weeks
October 7, 2021 6 weeks
May 19, 2022 6 weeks
October 6, 2022 6 weeks

As the table shows, Nacho Fries have reliably returned for limited 6-week stints throughout 2021 and 2022. Based on these recent patterns, Taco Bell fans can reasonably expect Nacho Fries to make another recurrence sometime in November or December 2022 for a 6-week holiday run. However, Taco Bell has not made any official announcements about the next return of Nacho Fries as of October 2022.

Why Some People Are Addicted to Nacho Fries

For Taco Bell’s biggest fans, Nacho Fries aren’t just another menu item – they’re an obsession. What makes Nacho Fries so addictive?

  • That Nacho Cheese Sauce – The unique nacho cheese sauce coating the fries has the perfect tongue-tingling zest and creamy texture.
  • Seasoning – Nacho Fries have a secret blend of seasonings and spices that give them an umami pop.
  • Crunchy Fries – The fries maintain a satisfying crunch even when doused in nacho cheese sauce.
  • Nostalgia – The flavors bring back fond memories of nachos and movie theater concession stands.
  • Craveability – There’s something innately craveable about piping hot, crispy fries smothered in cheese sauce.
  • Limited Time – The constant threat of Nacho Fries vanishing makes people crave them even more.

Psychologists point to “triggered cravings” as one reason people get hooked on limited-edition fast food offerings like Nacho Fries. When you taste and enjoy an item, you encode a memory of it as being rewarding. When you see Nacho Fries advertised again after a long break, it triggers neurotransmitters like dopamine to kick off cravings based on those food memories.

Taco Bell likely spent lots of time in their test kitchens engineering the Nacho Fries to be as craveable as possible. The combination of flavors, textures, scent profiles, and memories evoked seem to have resulted in an addictive menu item for many fans.

Should Nacho Fries Become Permanent?

While Nacho Fries lovers surely want them available permanently, Taco Bell is unlikely to make Nacho Fries a fixed menu item year-round. Some reasons Taco Bell wants to retain the limited-time mystique:

  • Preserves novelty and excitement for returns
  • Avoids Nacho Fries fatigue if available daily
  • Lets Taco Bell focus on gaining hype for other new products
  • Makes collaborations with brands like Flamin’ Hot more special
  • Limits ingredient costs versus having huge year-round demand
  • Cushions risk of declining sales if customers lose interest

However, Taco Bell could potentially consider having Nacho Fries as a permanent menu item at select locations in the future. The chain has tested special “Nacho Fries Forever” locations where Nacho Fries were served daily for several months. Markets with high sales and engagement could merit having Nacho Fries available ongoing.

Surveys have shown over half of Nacho Fries fans wish they were a permanent menu fixture. But for now, Taco Bell seems intent on preserving demand through scarcity. Fans will have to be content waiting for the next Nacho Fries drop.

Coping With Nacho Fries Withdrawal

When Nacho Fries vanish, fans go into withdrawal waiting for their return. Here are some tips to cope:

  • Bookmark the Taco Bell website and check for Nacho Fries announcements
  • Turn on push notifications to get alerts on your phone when Nacho Fries are back
  • Satisfy cravings by recreating Nacho Fries at home with store-bought fries and nacho cheese sauce
  • Try other Taco Bell menu items like the chips and nacho cheese sauce
  • Find comfort in memes and jokes about missing Nacho Fries shared by other fans online
  • Plan a trip to the Taco Bell test kitchen hotel in Palm Springs which may serve Nacho Fries year-round
  • Sign petitions begging Taco Bell to bring back Nacho Fries as a permanent item
  • Become a Nacho Fries influencer posting about the #nachofriescraving online
  • Organize local taste tests comparing nacho fries from different fast food chains
  • Book flights and hotel to visit the Taco Bell Nacho Fries-themed resort in Ohio in 2023

While nothing can fully satisfy Nacho Fries cravings until they return, these are some creative ways fans have learned to cope during the Nacho Fries off-season. It takes patience and mental fortitude, but remember – Nacho Fries always come back. The nacho cheese-covered taters will return in all their glory once again someday.


Nacho Fries have become a pop culture phenomenon since their 2018 debut, demonstrating Taco Bell’s marketing savvy. By making Nacho Fries limited-time only, Taco Bell leverages scarcity and cravings to generate hype and sales. Nacho Fries will likely continue their five-year run of returning for short stints every few months in 2023 and beyond. Their constant disappearance keeps fans addicted and eagerly awaiting the next Nacho Fries drop.