Doritos inventor cashes in his chips at age 97

Retired Frito-Lay executive Arch Clark West has died at age 97. The marketing man (shown at left in a family photo) is credited with having invented Doritos, the best-selling American snack chip.

"His family plans to sprinkle Doritos at his graveside service," the Dallas Morning News reported.

There's a Masonic connection, according to this WSJ obit:

Introduced nationally in 1966, Doritos—"little bits of gold" is how Frito-Lay translates the name—were a hit in plain and what the company called "taco" flavors. The Nacho cheese flavor, which Frito-Lay said was a blend of cheddar and Romano, debuted in 1972 under Mr. West's guidance.

The chips were aimed at the youth market, marketed as "the with-it chip." Doritos became Frito-Lay's second-biggest seller, behind Lay's potato chips.

Mr. West was a native of Franklin, Ind. He grew up in a Masonic home for boys after his father, a Mason, died. Mr. West won a scholarship to Franklin College and became a cheese salesman.

IMAGE at the top of this post: "Dark Side of the Doritos," an assemblage created by BB reader Brock Davis and shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool. Here's more about how it was made.

(Headline stolen from @evanatwired)


  1. I’ve cut almost all processed foods and all grains out of my diet, but I’ll still eat an offered (nacho) Dorito in a heartbeat.  I was hooked from the first time I had one as a kid, despite not being a big fan of chips and chip-like snacks. Those Doritos have some kind of freaky mojo.

  2. My friends and I pigged out on those a lot in high school (especially after certain other, um, ingestions). Then we’d feel gross afterward. Which is why we called them “horse farts.”

  3. Doritos are nasty. The only thing that makes them bearable is being stoned.

    Of course, that also makes gravel from the driveway bearable so it ain’t saying much.

  4. Huh! I never made the connection before between “Doritos” and “El Dorado.” Knowing their original marketing tagline made sense of it.

    RIP, Mr. West. You made us all as corny and cheesy as you could, encouraged us to embrace our inner snack chip and indirectly sponsored the pro-marijuana movement since 1966. With orange-hued hands, we salute you.

  5. The Pringles inventor died in 2008; the inventor of the Cheez Doodle in 2010 and now this. I guess that’s all of ’em.

      1. I considered Funyuns, but concluded that they’re just old onion rings. Pringles, Cheeze Doodles and Doritos are like the Diz, Monk and Bird of packaged junk food. Funyuns would be like an Oscar Peterson or Bill Evans–certainly significant and bringing something to the genre, but couldn’t be considered a progenitor of the form.

  6. I remember as a small child of 5 or so, trying the Taco-flavored ones and liking them, but not being convinced that they tasted anything like octopus. (taco = octopus in Japanese)

  7. I really don’t comprehend this entire category of chips. It’s like eating broken taco shells–salty and otherwise flavorless, and hard on the teeth. Is there some nostalgia factor at play?

  8. Aren’t Doritos just the bastard child of tortilla chips?  

    And how the hell do I make that sentence grammatical but not awkward?

  9. But WHY does the bag have to be so LOUD? You know how hard it is to sneak a handful of any frito-lay product in the middle of the night without the wife hearing?

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