Last year's unleashing of the Doritos Locos Nacho Cheese beef taco was Taco Bell's biggest product launch ever, shaking the earth and forever changing what we mere mortals thought was possible in the fast food game. Turns out, Taco Bell may even win an award for its culinary black magic.
Now, with the rise of the new Taco Bell Doritos Locos Cool Ranch taco, the prophesies have been fulfilled. No longer will humans be made to suffer through infirm, freshly prepared tortillas. No longer will we have to snack and actually eat dinner at separate times. And surely — SURELY — this is just the beginning. Here are five other snack and fast food mashups that you can expect to see within the next 18 months.
5. Long John Silver's Bugle-Crusted Shrimp Logs
Long John Silver's, the failing fast-fish concept, pushes for a Hail Mary with its newest fried menu item. Crushed Bugles are left in dusty shard piles to maximize their greasy corn-bomb flavor on your tongue, with the added bonus of forcing you to seriously chew your food or risk gouging your gums with hard, crusty edges. And you're going to need all that chewing with the stretched and steamed Shrimp Logs that Long John Silver's is bringing to the table. No, these aren't your grandfather's curled, poppable shrimp — these are fast-casual seafood logs, crusted and fried, because you don't have time to sit down with a knife and fork. And when the Bugles people come out with their shrimp-flavored version of the cone-shaped snack, you'll never have an excuse to eat anything ever again.
4. Del Taco Bean & Cheese Go-Gurt Squeezables
Squeezing artificial viscous liquid isn't just for kids anymore! Del Taco's new Bean & Cheese Go-Gurt Tubes brings all the flavor of its traditional refried beans, the slick cheesiness of its blended cheddar product and the thin zip of a packet of taco sauce — all in one seriously squirtable tube. Stuck in traffic on the way home from the office? Grab a tube! Don't like having to use your hands or make decisions about what belongs inside your body? Go-Gurt yourself a whole pack of Bean & Cheese Squeezables — pronto.
3. Slim Jim Dr. Pepper
No, it's not Dr. Pepper that tastes like a Slim Jim. And no, it's not a Slim Jim with all of the refined and slightly peppery flavors of the delicious Dr. Basically, scientists have hollowed out the middle of a Slim Jim, and you can drink Dr. Pepper through it. They tried it with a bunch of other sodas (including an ill-fated run with Sprite) and found that Dr. Pepper's dark colors hid any dried beef-part bits that might come dislodged during sipping, and the robust flavor helped to round out the flat, stale chewiness of a traditional Slim Jim. And the best part? The items can be sold separately or packaged together for maximum retail value.
2. Pepsi's KFC Crazy Gravy Drinkerz
What better way to herald the complete redesign of Pepsi's famous plastic bottles than with a collaboration with KFC, the nation's leading manufacturer of warm, sippable gravy? The sporty new tan Pepsi look will only complement the salty sauce, which goes down smooth and offers just a hint of carbonation — that's how you know it's fresh. This is a drink for people on the go, as evidenced by the bottle's sharp lines and the gravy's “go anywhere, enjoy at any temperature” sensibility. If you're running late to a dinner party but can't find a wine store, drop into any gas station for a 2-liter bottle of the thick stuff — your hosts will not be disappointed.
1. Burger King's Banquet Dinner Pressers
Can you think of anything more delicious than coming home to a frozen, ready-from-the-box Banquet dinner? The complete meals feature pressed meats, heavy sauces and questionable sides, all engineered to warm up at exactly the right temperature in any microwave. Now, Burger King is trading on the ease and taste of Banquet's classic dinner suite with a line of Pressers — entire frozen meals pressed free of all tenderness, shaped into a patty and slid onto a sesame-seeded bun. With minimal rebranding from its current gray puck-patty burgers, the fast food King will be able to lure in home diners who were previously wary of the social stigma of hitting up a drive-thru at 5 p.m. by themselves. With both the lonely frozen food and low-cost fast food burger markets locked up, Burger King's Banquet Dinner Pressers will only open the door to further market segmentation and innovation.
Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.