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Fritos is a brand of corn chips and dipping sauces created in 1932 by Charles Elmer Doolin and produced since 1959 by the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo. Unlike the similar tortilla chips, which are made from cornmeal and use the nixtamalization process (known as masa), Fritos are made by deep-frying extruded whole cornmeal. The brand is owned by Frito-Lay along with Lay's.
|Product type||Corn chip|
The Frito Company was born in 1932 at the height of the Great Depression. The family of Charles Elmer (C. E.) Doolin (1903-1959) owned the Highland Park Confectionary in San Antonio, and Doolin, twenty-eight at the time, wanted to add a salty snack to their repertoire. He responded to an ad in the San Antonio Express. The ad, placed by Gustavo Olguin, listed for sale an original recipe for fried corn chips along with an adapted potato ricer and nineteen retail accounts. Doolin bought the small business venture for $100, and began to manufacture the chips in his mother’s kitchen with the help of his father, Charles Bernard Doolin; mother, Daisy Dean Stephenson Doolin; and brother, Earl Doolin. These four founders made up the first board of directors, with Charles Bernard Doolin serving as the first chairman.
The Doolin family began selling Fritos in 1932 under the name of the Frito Corporation, located first in their garage; they soon bought the house next door to expand their operation. In 1933-34, they opened plants in Dallas and Tulsa. By 1947, the company had plants in Los Angeles and Denver, and licensed franchises nationwide, including H. W. Lay and Company, which had an exclusive franchise to produce and sell Fritos in the Southeastern United States. As its business expanded, the Frito Company also produced other items, including Cheetos (1948), chili, bean dip, tortilla chips, and other Mexican-inspired treats, along with potato chips, roasted peanuts, fried pork skins, and other snack-food products.
By 1955, the company owned more than fifty production plants, including ones in Hawaii and Venezuela, as well as a number of "Frito farms" across Texas, where Doolin grew corn and other crops for use in his products. The Frito Company was one of the first to invest in Disneyland, and from the park's opening in 1955 had a Casa de Fritos Restaurant there. In 1961, the Frito Company merged with H. W. Lay and Company to become Frito-Lay. In 1965, Frito-Lay merged with the Pepsi-Cola Company to become PepsiCo, one of the world's largest producers of soft drinks and snack foods.
According to Smithsonian magazine, C. E. Doolin did not eat meat or salt and was a follower of fellow Texan Herbert M. Shelton, a naturopath who advocated raw foods and fasting as a cure for diseases.
From 1952 to 1967, Frito Kid was the company's official mascot. The Frito Bandito was its mascot from 1967 until about 1971, and was discontinued due to complaints about the Bandito image. He was initially replaced by the Muncha Bunch, a group of cowboys, which then were replaced by W.C. Fritos, modeled after comedian W.C. Fields
- Adobados (in Mexico)
- Bar-B-Q Hoops (in Canada)
- Chili Cheese
- Chile and Lime (in Mexico)
- Chorizo and Chipotle (in Mexico)
- Chutney (in South Africa)
- Classic Ranch
- Flamin' Hot
- Lightly Salted (a version of the original flavor Fritos that contain 50% less sodium)
- Peri Peri Waves (rippled chips – in South Africa)
- Pinch of Salt
- Salt and Lime (in Mexico)
- Scoops! (wider, cupped chips intended for dipping)
- Spicy Jalapeño
- Sweet Chilli (in South Africa)
- Sweet Chilli Twists (fusilli-shaped chips – in South Africa)
- Tomato Sauce (in South Africa)
- Tomato Ribbons (similar shape to regular Fritos – in South Africa)
A spiral-shaped variation of Fritos chips, currently only available in the United States.
- Cheddar Ranch (Available only in Munchies Totally Ranch snack mix)
- Honey BBQ
- Bean Dip
- Hot Bean Dip
- Jalapeño Cheddar Cheese Dip
- Mild Cheddar Cheese Dip
- King Size
- Fritos Lite
- Fritos Tabasco
- Fritos Racerz (late 1990s), the Fritos material formed into a more crunchy race car shape were sold for a short while before the introduction of Twists. They were marketed by Jeff Gordon.
- Jalapeño (late 1980s)
- Limited Edition Wild 'n Mild Ranch (Limited re-release of discontinued flavor – late 2012)
- Nacho Cheese (late 1980s-early 1990s)
- Wild 'n Mild Ranch (1986-late 1990s)
- Cheddar Ranch Twists (late 1990s-early 2000s)
- Jalapeño Cheddar Twists (late 1990s-early 2000s)
- Texas Grill, a thicker version of the original with "grill strips" on the chips. The honey barbecue flavor transitioned over to the twists.
- McGraw's Spicy Jalapeño (limited edition; 2008, 2009)
- Ballpark Nacho (limited edition; 2010)
- Tapatio Flavor Twists
- Tex-Mex Flavor Twists
- Tangy Roasted Corn
- Doolin, Kaleta. "Frito-Lay Corporation". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- The Kitchen Sisters (18 October 2007). "The Birth of the Frito". NPR. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- Doolin, Kaleta. "Doolin, Charles Elmer (C. E.)". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- Smith, Peter. "Frito Pie and the Chip Technology that Changed the World (January 30, 2012)". Smithsonian. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
- "Frito Kid and Deeee-licious Fritos!". Imagineering Disney. 2010-06-26. Retrieved 2012-10-22.