In order to thrive in China, Taco Bell is working on a more localized menu, and the popular chain believes the answer is nacho cheese.
According to Munchies, Shivram Vaideeswaran, the Global Marketing and Innovation Director at Taco Bell said, “While preparing for the launch in China, we spent a lot of time learning the local culture and food customs to help us customize the menu to meet local tastes while still staying true to our core.”
What they learned of local tastes turned out to have a lot to do with temperature. In a market testing, Taco Bell found that the people of China prefer their food to be served hot rather than cold. For example, in the United States, we like the added lettuce, tomato and cheese to be cold, making the overall meal lukewarm.
China’s locals prefer that the entire meal is hot, so Taco Bell has decided to give them nacho cheese sauce rather than cold shredded cheese. This can help to warm up the other ingredients.
“Since Taco Bell is all about craveable textures and tastes -- cool sour cream, crispy corn shells, and warm seasoned beef -- we didn’t want to polarize folks when they bit into a taco and there were a ton of cold ingredients,” Vaideeswaran said. “Nacho cheese sauce was an awesome bridge because it kept the products hot while adding in a new flavor that is uniquely Taco Bell.”
Yum Brands, which owns Taco Bell, also owns KFC and Pizza Hut, and according to Bloomberg, KFC and Pizza Hut are already well-established in China. In order to expand their reach even further, Yum Brands will be ramping up delivery options and loyalty programs in the country. So, these measures in addition to a nacho cheese-heavy Taco Bell should do the trick to amp up sales.
Now, don’t be fooled, Yum Brands doesn’t think that nacho cheese sauce is a food that’s widely used in Chinese culture. The use of the cheesy sauce is only there to help satisfy the palates of Chinese locals.