Those who love the Mexican Pizza have had a rough few years.
This classic menu item from Yum Brands (YUM) - Get Free Report fave Taco Bell was the kind of reliable comfort many folks looked to on that late night drive-thru run, for an afternoon lunch treat, or simply because they were in the mood for its strangely addictive delights.
Then 2020 came with all its horrors. The covid pandemic rolled in, shutting down the freedom of our lives as we knew it. Hospitals overflowed with sick people. Businesses that were once stable found themselves unable to pay their bills and shuttered their doors.
And as if the world hadn't become bleak enough, Taco Bell announced in September 2020 that it would be phasing out a handful of items from its menu, including the much-beloved Mexican Pizza, which Taco Bell claimed created too much waste because of its box.
Chaos ensued, with more than 175,000 rallying around a Change.org petition demanding the Bell bring back the Mexican Pizza. Taco Bell saw the uproar and responded by bringing back the Mexican Pizza in the spring of 2022 (mysteriously, in the very same box that was supposedly the cause of its removal in the first place) ... only to pull it off the menu again a few weeks later.
Now, it's back on the menu (with a few caveats, anyway).
The Mexican Pizza Makes Its Grand Return
The Mexican Pizza is available as of today for members of the Taco Bell Rewards program, and for everyone starting on Sept. 15. In a tweet, the Bell promises that the Mexican Pizza is now "back for good."
The previously canceled Mexican Pizza musical is also back with Dolly Parton at the helm as originally planned. It will take place on TikTok Live on Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. EST.
Perhaps most interesting, however, is the level of skepticism in the comments of all these posts. Surely they won't matter after people have been able to get the Mexican Pizza again for a few weeks, but for now, folks still seem pretty salty about Taco Bell's behavior around the item.
But What About The Box?
Taco Bell has been hard at work on streamlining its operations in order to make them more eco-friendly for some time. In 2018, it transitioned all its cup and lid material from polystyrene to polypropylene, made its bags recyclable, and made a promise to remove PFAs, phthalates, and BPA from all customer-facing packaging by 2025.
However, as TheStreet reported in a previous story, Taco Bell never addressed the original reason the Mexican Pizza was taken off menus in the first place: the box.
When it made the original announcement that the item was being removed from the menu, the company said "Currently, Mexican Pizza packaging accounts for over 7 million pounds of paperboard material per year in the U.S.”
However, when the item made its first return earlier this year, it appeared to be packaged in the same box (with an aesthetic makeover, naturally). For its second comeback, it's gotten yet another makeover, but still no word on any changes to the paperboard waste the box creates.
TheStreet has contacted Taco Bell to ask about what changes have been made to transition it to be an eco-friendly product, but has not received a reply as of the time of this writing.