Doritos Creator to be Buried with Iconic Chips

on September 27 2011 8:40 AM
Doritos Creator Passes Away, to be Buried with Some of the Chips
Arch West was the man behind the crispy and tangy Doritos, which last year alone generated worldwide sales of up to $5 billion. Flickr Creative Commons

Doritos inventor and Frito-Lay marketing executive Arch West will be buried along side the snack he created. West, who died at the age of 97 last week, was cremated and will be buried in Dallas on Saturday.

His family has planned an unusual, albeit touching tribute for West. During the service, family and friends will throw Doritos into his grave before he's laid to rest. The bright-orange chip will be covered in dirt along side the urn.

He'll love it, commented his daughter Jane Hacker in the Dallas Morning News.

West invented (a strange word for a food recipe, but probably appropriate) the Dorito in 1964 after a vacation in Mexico, where he tried fried tortilla chips for the first time. Doritos' rise to the top of the bagged-snacks mountain was slow and Frito-Lay was initially unsure if the product was worth the research dollars.

But, by 1970 Doritos were the company's best-selling chip and a permanent cultural icon.

A eulogy for West is one devoted to snacks, because his life was devoted to snacks. In his early life, he was a traveling cheese salesman. When he became an advertising executive on Madison Avenue, one of his clients was Jell-O.

West was recruited by Frito Co. to serve as a marketing vice president in 1960. Doritos were a personal project, and something that he perfected by himself in a food-lab after Frito merged with H.W. Lay & Co.

Doritos were the first tortilla chip to be sold nationally, and they were, in a way, an ambassador for Mexican food into the U.S. The first commercials called them “a swinging, Latin sort of snack. They are now sold in 20 countries and 2010 global sales were about $5 billion, according to The Washington Post.

Doritos have been made in about three dozen flavors, and just a few weeks before his death, West was busy taste-tasting the newest Doritos incantation, Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger (which he reportedly hated).

West is survived be his daughter Jane Hacker, three sons Greg, Dick and Jack West, 12 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and tens of millions of Doritos lovers.

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