Last updated
Fritos logo.png
Fritos on a white background.jpg
Bunch of Frito chips
Product type Corn chip
Owner PepsiCo (via Frito-Lay)
Introduced1932;91 years ago (1932)
Related brands Doritos

Fritos is an American brand of corn chips and dipping sauces that was created in 1932 by Charles Elmer Doolin and has been produced since 1961 by the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo. Fritos are made by deep-frying extruded whole cornmeal, unlike the similar tortilla chips, which are made from cornmeal and use the nixtamalization process (known as masa). It is one of two brands representing Frito-Lay along with Lay's.



Frito means "fried" in Spanish. [1]

According to the Handbook of Texas , published by the Texas State Historical Association: [2]

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. In 1936, Fritos were displayed at the Texas Centennial Exposition and the exhibit was moved to the 'Castle of Foods' during the 1938 State Fair of Texas. 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. [3]

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. [4] 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. [5]

Company mascots

An animatronic vending machine featuring Frito Kid at Disneyland's Casa De Fritos Frito Kid.jpeg
An animatronic vending machine featuring Frito Kid at Disneyland's Casa De Fritos

From 1952 to 1967, Frito Kid was the company's official mascot, designed by Keitz & Herndon. [6] [7] [8] The Frito Bandito was its mascot from 1967 until about 1971, and was discontinued due to complaints about the racist 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.


Flavor twists

A spiral-shaped variation of Fritos chips, currently only available in the United States.

Dipping sauces

Discontinued variations

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Doritos</span> American flavored tortilla chips brand

Doritos is an American brand of flavored tortilla chips produced since 1964 by Frito-Lay, a wholly owned subsidiary of PepsiCo. The original Doritos were not flavored. The first flavor was Toasted Corn, released in 1966, followed by Taco in 1967 and Nacho Cheese in 1972. Other specialty flavors began to make their debut during the late 1980s. The concept for Doritos originated in a restaurant at Disneyland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Funyuns</span>

Funyuns is the brand name of an onion-flavored corn extruded snack introduced in the United States in 1969, and invented by Frito-Lay employee George Wade Bigner. Funyuns consist primarily of cornmeal, ring-shaped using an extrusion process, representing the shape of fried onion rings. A salt and onion mix gives them their flavor. They are a product of PepsiCo's Frito-Lay company. In Brazil, Funyuns are sold under the name "Cebolitos".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tortilla chip</span> Snack food made from corn tortillas

A tortilla chip is a snack food made from corn tortillas, which are cut into triangles and then fried or baked. Corn tortillas are made of nixtamalized corn, vegetable oil, salt and water. Although first mass-produced commercially in the U.S. in Los Angeles in the late 1940s, tortilla chips grew out of Mexican cuisine, where similar items were well known, such as totopos and tostadas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cheetos</span> Brand of corn puff snack food

Cheetos is a crunchy corn puff snack brand made by Frito-Lay, a subsidiary of PepsiCo. Fritos creator Charles Elmer Doolin invented Cheetos in 1948, and began national distribution in the U.S. The initial success of Cheetos was a contributing factor to the merger between The Frito Company and H.W. Lay & Company in 1961 to form Frito-Lay. In 1965 Frito-Lay became a subsidiary of The Pepsi-Cola Company, forming PepsiCo, the current owner of the Cheetos brand.

Granny Goose is an American brand of potato chips and other snack foods.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bugles (snack)</span> Corn snack food originally from General Mills

Bugles are a corn snack produced by General Mills and Tom's Snacks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tostitos</span> American brand of snacks

Tostitos is a brand of Frito-Lay that produces different tortilla chips and a range of accompanying dips.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lay's</span> Snack food brand and company

Lay's is a brand of potato chips with different flavors, as well as the name of the company that founded the chip brand in the United States. The brand is also referred to as Frito-Lay because both Lay's and Fritos are brands sold by the Frito-Lay company, which has been a wholly owned subsidiary of PepsiCo since 1965.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Corn nut</span> Snack made from corn kernels

Corn nuts, also known as toasted corn, are a snack food made of roasted or deep-fried corn kernels. It is referred to as cancha in Peru and chulpi in Ecuador.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frito pie</span> American savory dish

Frito pie is a dish popular in the Midwestern, Southeastern, and Southwestern United States, whose basic ingredients are chili, cheese, and corn chips. Additions can include salsa, refried beans, sour cream, onion, rice, or jalapeños. There are many variations and alternative names used by region. Frito pie can be prepared in a casserole dish, but an alternate preparation can be in a single-serve Fritos-type corn chip bag with various ingredients as toppings. In Mexico a similar type of dish is chilaquiles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Smith's Snackfood Company</span> Snack food manufacturing company

The Smith's Snackfood Company is a British-Australian snack food company owned by American multinational corporation PepsiCo. It is best known for its brand of potato crisps. The company was founded by Frank Smith and Jim Viney in the United Kingdom in 1920 as Smiths Potato Crisps Ltd, originally packaging a twist of salt with its crisps in greaseproof paper bags which were sold around London. The dominant brand in the UK until the 1960s when Edinburgh's Golden Wonder took over with Cheese & Onion, Smith’s countered by creating Salt & Vinegar flavour which was launched nationally in 1967.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sun Chips</span> American snack chip brand

Sun Chips is a brand of fried grains, rippled, multigrain chips launched in 1991 and produced by Frito-Lay.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kettle Foods</span> American foods company based in Oregon

Kettle Foods, Inc. is an American manufacturer of potato chips, based in Salem, Oregon, United States, with a European and Middle East headquarters in Norwich, United Kingdom. As of 2006 they were the largest natural potato chip brand in the U.S.

Tasali Foods is the second largest snack food company in Saudi Arabia. In 2001, it was acquired by PepsiCo. They now produce Tasali potato chips, as well as distributing other Pepsi brands such as Lay's and Cheetos.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cheez Doodles</span> Cheese flavored snack made in the US

Cheez Doodles are a cheese puff produced by Wise Foods. Originally developed and manufactured in 1964 by King Kone Corp. of the Bronx, New York, it became the prevalent cheese puff snack on the East Coast.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Herr's Snacks</span> Brand of snack food

Herr's is an American brand of potato chips and other snack foods produced and marketed by eponymous private American company Herr Foods Inc. based in Nottingham, Pennsylvania. While their products are sold primarily throughout the Eastern United States and Canada, their stronghold is the Mid-Atlantic region. Herr's products are sold in all 50 American states and in over 40 countries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jays Foods</span> American snack product manufacturer

Jays Foods, Inc., is an American manufacturer of snack products including potato chips, popcorn and pretzels. Jays Foods was founded in 1927 in Chicago, Illinois, and is currently a subsidiary of Snyder's of Hanover. Operating in several Midwestern states, Jays Foods' potato chips and popcorn maintain significant shares of their respective markets.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frito-Lay</span> American company producing snack foods

Frito-Lay is an American subsidiary of PepsiCo that manufactures, markets, and sells corn chips, potato chips, and other snack foods. The primary snack food brands produced under the Frito-Lay name include Fritos corn chips, Cheetos cheese-flavored snacks, Doritos and Tostitos tortilla chips, Lay's and Ruffles potato chips, Rold Gold pretzels, and Walkers potato crisps. Each brand generated annual worldwide sales over $1 billion in 2009.

Frito-Lay Canada, Inc.; formerly the Hostess Frito-Lay Company is a Canadian division of the U.S.-based Frito-Lay owned as a subsidiary of PepsiCo that manufactures, markets and sells corn chips, potato chips and other snack foods. The primary snack food brands produced under the Frito-Lay name include Fritos corn chips, Cheetos cheese-flavored snacks, Doritos and Tostitos tortilla chips, Lay's and Ruffles potato chips, Smartfood flavored popcorn and Rold Gold pretzels. The company is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario and has four production plants in Cambridge, Ontario; Lévis, Quebec; Kentville, Nova Scotia; and Taber/Lethbridge, Alberta.


  1. Spanish to English: Frito
  2. Doolin, Kaleta. "Frito-Lay Corporation". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  3. The Kitchen Sisters (18 October 2007). "The Birth of the Frito". Morning Edition . NPR . Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  4. Doolin, Kaleta. "Doolin, Charles Elmer (C. E.)". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  5. Smith, Peter. "Frito Pie and the Chip Technology that Changed the World (January 30, 2012)". Smithsonian. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  6. "Frito Kid and Deeee-licious Fritos!". Imagineering Disney. 2010-06-26. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
  7. Elliott, Alan C. (2016). Texas Ingenuity: Lone Star Inventions, Inventors & Innovators. Arcadia Publishing. p. 159. ISBN   9780738503561 via
  8. Elliott, Alan C.; Summey, Patricia K.; Kokel, Gayla Brooks (2009). Oak Cliff. Arcadia Publishing. p. 87. ISBN   9780738570686 via