Oct 03, 2014 • By

How to take tacos to a new level

The mere sight of colorful produce in the grocery store can apparently be enough to inspire some consumers to think about making a Mexican meal for dinner.

“It can stop you in your tracks when you see this beautiful, fresh produce,” says Kris Johnson, a senior consumer insights associate for General Mills. “It has the power to change what you’re going to make for dinner.”


Kris hears that a lot in her research on behalf of Old El Paso. She told me about a woman who sent her team a photo of some peppers in a store, which led her to make taco salads that night instead of what she had been planning.

Another woman told the team about a trip to the store specifically to get spaghetti. But then she saw an avocado and craved Mexican. So she decided to make tacos.

“What we continue to hear from consumers is that they really like how fresh produce helps them make a Mexican meal,” Kris says.

And our Old El Paso teams, around the globe, have always been mindful of that insight. But in the last year they mobilized to spread the message behind it – and celebrate it.

The “Start Somewhere Fresh” campaign in the U.S. focused on the search for inspiration in the produce section to help get a fresh dinner on the table.

“In the past, you didn’t have the tailwinds of the push toward more fresh ingredients like you have now,” says Dan Stangler, marketing associate director for Old El Paso. “Mexican food hits on the trifecta of great taste, health and convenience. But many consumers also want some inspiration and to really make their choices in produce and protein their own.”

As part of the campaign, Mary Goetz, a food editor in the Kitchens of General Mills, developed the “Ten Minute Tacos” series for the brand.

“Consumers just seem to have less and less time, so we decided to create this whole collection of ideas,” Mary says.

How do Sriracha Avocado tacos sound?

Sriracha Avocado Ten Minute Tacos

Mary says the creations developed in our kitchens are getting a little more adventurous, because that’s where the consumer is taking the trend.

“The consumer used to look at taco night as just ground beef or chicken, salsa and shredded lettuce – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But now there are global flavors and inspirations we’re looking into. Whatever you want to buy at the market you can put into a taco shell and that’s how a lot of people eat tacos today, at any time of the day,” Mary says.

Old El Paso’s product innovations have helped the brand respond to a variety of takes on the taco.

Stand ‘N Stuff Taco Shells and Soft Flour Tortillas have been are a popular addition – and Nacho Cheese Flavored Taco Shells recently made their debut.


“We’re getting great feedback from consumers on these products,” says Brian Durmaskin, associate marketing manager. “And focusing on the freshness of produce is yielding emotional and remarkable responses from people who are sharing their dinner ideas with us online.”

The brand revamped OldElPaso.com to showcase its food content, and also is partnering with several bloggers to create recipes.


In addition, packaging also went through a makeover across the brand’s entire line to emphasize the focus on fresh ingredients and include recipes.

Social media properties, especially Facebook, also have been active. And Old El Paso’s “Taco Cupcakes” recipe was in Pinterest’s top 10 most pinned recipes of 2013.

Craving a taco yet?

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