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How Doritos Went From Disneyland Dumpster to Multi-Billion Dollar Snack

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Doritos: they're so bad, but so undeniably good. Face it, you're staring at that orange-powdered motherlode of vaguely cheese-flavored corn product and salivating right now. But as you tear into a bag of Cool Ranch, do you ever wonder where Doritos came from? Short answer: a Disneyland dumpster. Talk about junk food.

This food history is known to some, but Death and Taxes brings us a newer, deeper look at the origin story of those ubiquitous salt-triangles, and it's a fun story worth pondering. You should check out Emma del Valle's whole story, but here's the tastiest morsels from the bottom of the bag.


In 1955, not long after Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California, the Frito-Lay snack company opened "Casa de Fritos," a Mexican-style restaurant in Disneyland's Frontierland. Casa de Fritos got its tortillas from Alex Foods, a local tortilla factory.

One day, a salesman from Alex Foods noticed that Casa de Fritos was dumping stale tortillas in the trash. He gave the kitchen a tip: instead of trashing the stale tortillas, cut them up and fry them.


Some time later, Archibald Clark West, a marketing executive for Frito-Lay, stops by Casa de Fritos and encounters the repurposed snack. He falls in love with them, contracts Alex Foods to produce them, and in 1964 the Dorito is born.

By 1966, Doritos rolled out nationally, and our Pavlovian love affair with cheese powder was born. By that time, Alex Foods was out of the game, and Doritos became a Frito-Lay production.

Archibald Clark West was a lifelong Dorito head—he asked his family to pour Doritos in his grave when he was buried, and they did. Arch was 97 when he passed away. Take that, health food nuts.

So the next time you get a craving for Smoky Chipotle Barbecue flavor-triangles, pat yourself on the back. You're not just snacking, you're upcycling. [DeathAndTaxes]


Image: Shutterstock / GoodMood Photo