You may have heard that the inventor of Doritos died this week. Arch West was the marketing vice president at Frito-Lay in 1964 when he and his family took a trip to southern California. Like many of us tend to do when we’re traveling, West grabbed a quick snack for the road - a bag of toasted tortillas. A lightbulb went off in his head, and when he went back to work, he pitched an idea for a cheesy corn tortilla snack (his previous experience as a cheese salesman also surely had a little influence). Execs weren’t totally convinced, but they did make enough sample chips to do a little consumer testing. The response was overwhelmingly positive and the first Doritos were sold to the public in 1966. You’ve probably noticed that they went over pretty well.
The 97-year-old West died in Dallas last week and the funeral is this weekend. The family mentioned that they plan to throw a few Doritos chips in to the grave. I’m guessing they’ll probably go with the classic Nacho Cheese flavor, but one thing’s for sure: it won’t be last year’s Late Nite Cheeseburger. West tested them before they hit the market, and he promptly spit them out.
Oddly enough, the Frito-Lay executive isn’t the first member of the snack food industry to be buried with his product. In 2008, Fredric Baur, the man who invented the distinctive tube Pringles chips come in, told his family he wanted to spend eternity in his invention. The innovative chip can wasn’t terribly popular at first - people apparently liked rooting through bags of chips (or maybe they just had a hard time letting go of such a familiar action).
When Baur first mentioned the idea to his kids back in the ‘80s, they didn’t take him seriously. But the subject kept coming up, and when Baur passed away, the family made a pitstop on the way to the funeral home to pick up a can of Pringles from Walgreens. The Baur family went with the original flavor.