If you’ve been looking for a ridiculously long chalupa, here's where you can find one.
Credit: Courtesy of Taco Bell

Once upon a time, test marketing was just that: a test. Maybe Taco Bell was unsure if people would be interested in a taco with — I don’t know — chicken instead of beef? So instead of wasting resources launching the prospective item nationwide, they’d try it out and collect feedback in a single market — maybe Peoria? If you didn’t live in Peoria, or talk to anyone from Peoria, you’d never know this item even existed, and that was part of the plan: If the new product was a total dud, most of the country was none the wiser. But with the internet, that entire dynamic has changed: Test items are now hiding in plain sight. Entire sites and social feeds are dedicated to uncovering them wherever they are. And though not everyone will be able to try these new items, companies can at least gauge interest on a national level as well as a local one. Meanwhile, if interest is raised to the height of demand, then test marketing becomes more “marketing” than a “test.”

Case in point, the “new” Taco Bell Triplelupa: An item even stranger than the name implies. The Triplelupa is actually three of the chain’s chalupa shells baked together into one super long shell that looks like rolling hills of puffy pastry. Each section of this crazy triple-length shell is filled with seasoned beef, a three-cheese blend, lettuce, and tomatoes. But then the “triple” part really kicks in: One end has nacho cheese sauce, the other end has chipotle sauce, and the middle shell has the two sauces overlapping. As a result, you’re supposed to be able to rip the three sections apart into three distinctly different flavored chalupas. Frankly, the idea of a super long chalupa doesn’t seem particularly practical, meaning this odd item likely is intended more as a head-turner than anything else.

The Triplelupa originally debuted as a test item in Orange County, California, last fall, before disappearing. (If you had trouble envisioning the above, you can see one from that test run being eaten on the YouTube channel Peep This Out!) Now, the Triplelupa is back, but not in Orange County. Instead, you can grab one in a completely different climate: Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s currently being sold up north at an a la carte price of $3.49.

But in this day and age, I think it’s fair to ask why the Triplelupa is getting a second test run? Was Taco Bell truly unable to garner enough information in California to decide whether this Frankenchaulpa deserved a nationwide rollout? Or is the chain simply trying to see if they can get more heads to turn from this far-out three-in-one taco by bringing it to a different audience? Either way, if you’ve been saying, “Why can’t I find a ridiculously long chalupa anywhere?” then set your GPS for Minneapolis… for a limited time.