Editor's note: Cindy Y. Rodriguez is CNN's editor for Latino audiences. February 24 is National Tortilla Chip Day.
As a non-sports aficionado, my attraction to game day festivities has been solely food focused. So naturally, I noticed how potato chips have taken less and less space on the snack table to make room for tortilla chips and guacamole.
Although potato chips continue to be the top-selling salted snack in terms of pounds sold, tortilla chips have been increasing in sales at a faster pace than potato chips, especially during this time of year, according to Tom Dempsey, CEO of the Snack Food Association.
And, it's not just tortilla chips selling at such high rates either.
Make homemade tortilla chips
Tortillas – not the chips but the round flat breads used to wrap burritos - have been outselling hamburger and hot dog buns at supermarkets and retail food stories since 2010.
And salsa has been the new ketchup since 2008, according Jim Kabbani, CEO of the Tortilla Industry Association.
One of the factors that contributes to that growth is immigration. As the Latino population grows, so will the variety of foods that cater to them. Especially since the Mexican-American population makes up the largest Hispanic group in the United States.
Another factor that plays into the growth is that non-Hispanics have become more adventurous eaters, and companies want to cater to that, Kabbani said.
While Mexican food in the United States has become ubiquitously American as apple pie, the backstory of how the crispy golden corn chip became the go-to snack chip hasn't really been told.
In an effort to tell that story, nationally syndicated columnist of ¡Ask a Mexican! Gustavo Arellano wrote the book "Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America."
In the early 1900s, tortilla chips were already being manufactured and distributed to local restaurants in southern California but were never really a big deal. In fact, their creation was even an afterthought.
These tostadas, as they are called in Mexico, were made from leftover tortilla dough. Go figure.
It wasn’t long before Frito-Lay executives noticed how everyone in those southern California restaurants was gobbling up tostadas, so they decided to make the chips, too. They called their product "Doritos," Spanish for “little golden things.”
Although few consider Doritos a tortilla chip, under all that cheesy seasoning is an oppressed golden tortilla chip - the first to be launched nationally in the United States.
Shortly thereafter, tortilla chips made by other companies started to gain popularity - mostly driven by the rise of salsa, refried beans, and guacamole. But when nachos made their debut, it took tortillas chips to the next level.
Side note: Nachos were a delicious accident. When two American customers walked into his restaurant in Mexico, head waiter Ignacio “Nacho” Ayala couldn’t find the chef so he threw together some random ingredients and called them “Nacho’s Special,” Arellano said.
And the rest is history.
Today, every NFL stadium and Major League Baseball offers nachos. They’re the third-largest concession seller overall, after popcorn and soda, outselling even hot dogs, Arellano notes.
The rapid rise of nachos and guacamole persuaded Frito-Lay to make their own light, airy, slightly unseasoned tortilla chips. The American company named them “Tostitos” and marketed them as “authentic.”
Frito-Lay then hired Mexican-born, U.S.- raised actor Fernando Escandon - who had a slight Spanish accent - to do a series of commercials and it worked. It didn't hurt that Escandon also owned two Mexican restaurants either.
"Tostitos remains the biggest brand - heck, they sponsor the Fiesta Bowl - and it all started in the mid-1970s as a way to offer a more authentic alternative than Doritos," Arellano told CNN. “Through clever marketing, they took over the tortilla chip business.”
Doritos still continue to be the best-selling tortilla chips and Tostitos and Tostitos Scoops follow - all under the Frito-Lay empire.
Who invented the tortilla chip?
The origin of the tortilla chip gets a bit complicated because like every tale in history, there are two sides to every story.
While many have credited Rebecca Webb Carranza as the inventor and innovator of the tortilla chip, the Tamalina Milling Company claims its family's tortilla company made the famous corn chips long before that, Arellano wrote in Taco USA.
Jose Bartolome Martinez, owner of the Tamalina Milling Company, claims he was the first to produce masolina to make tortillas, where you would only have to add water and masa emerged. All that production meant excess masa so Martinez decided to make tortilla chips as to not be wasteful.
The Martinez family only recently donated materials to trademark the Tamalina brand of tortilla chip.
While the tortilla chip’s history is still a bit blurry, Frito-Lay’s heavy marketing and branding has been so influential that most people refer to tortilla chips as "Tostitos," even if they aren’t buying the Frito-Lay brand.
Potato chips keep things interesting
Not only does Frito-Lay have the corner on the tortilla chip market, but it owns most potato chip brands: Fritos, Baked!, Ruffles and, their most popular brand, Lay’s.
And they aren't taking the rise of the tortilla chip lightly.
"Potato chip companies have become creative in their advertising, even going as far as changing the shape of their chips to triangles or mixing ingredients to make a hybrid chip," Kabbani said.
You can even name your flavor as part of Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” contest, which has gotten a lot of bizarre entries.
Kettle Brand is one of the few companies that isn’t owned by Frito-Lay, and even though potato chip sales fell below tortilla chips recently, the company has focused its energy on two vital chip components: structure and flavor.
"The thick-cut and crunch of our chips also means they stand up really well against popular dips that have a tendency to make other chips crumble," Kettle Brand's brand manager Marc McCullagh told CNN.
Kettle Brand has also built up a reputation for bold flavors - Maple Bacon, Sweet & Salty, Sriracha and Sweet Chili Garlic - and McCullagh said they'll keep doing that to keep up with the competition.
While they're known for their kettle-style potato chips, Kettle Brand also sells tortilla chips, which they market as the “healthier alternative.”
“Unlike other plain tortilla chips brands, we focus on all-natural, organic and carry non-GMO ingredients,” McCullagh said.
After all, who wouldn't want to get a piece of the tortilla chip’s multibillion-dollar industry that is exponentially expanding year after year?
To each their own, I say.
Granted, I'm not complaining. I love tortillas chips and potato chips, in every shape, size and flavor. But I'm keeping an eye on the snack table in case these tostadas make a full-blown culinary takeover during game day.
Make these delicious things for your next party:
Homemade tortilla chips
Buffalo jalapeno poppers
Slow cooker chicken wings
Slow cooker chili con queso
Other dips including guacamole, artichoke dip and pimento cheese
Call it immigration, but the fact is, almost all land West of the Mississippi and many other southern states was at one time claimed and settled by Spain. The Spanish first came to the Americas in the late 1400's. Remember the guy named Christopher Colombus? Well he sailed under the Spanish flag. In 1521 Ponce de Leon (Spanish) came to Florida, 1526 Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón (Spanish) came to South Carolina,1539: Hernando de Soto (Spanish) explores the interior from Florida to Arkansas, 1540: Coronado (Spanish) travels from Mexico to eastern Kansas, 1540: Spanish reach the Grand Canyon (the area is ignored for the next 200 years), 1542: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (Spanish) is on the California coast. In 1521 Hernan Cortez conqured Mexico and in the 1770s my ancesters who were desendants of Cortez's expedition came to California and founded the Mission Churches from San Diego to San Francisco. In fact those same Spanish Soldiers supported the American Revolution and male descendants (myself included) are eligible to Join The Sons Of The American Revolution. So most Spanish Surnames you see in the United States have family roots that go back as early as the 1500's and the majority of them can easily trace their ancestors in the United States back to the 1700's as I can. So many of you who have ancestors that came to the US in the 1800s or the early 1900, we say welcome "newcomers" enjoy our traditions and food!
Refusing to read something because it takes more than 30 seconds shows the weakness of the reader, not the writer.
EXCELLENT !!! Very well stated, Dan. However as Gabe indicated most people won't read your informative history lesson (why would they now if they never paid attention in school?) not only because it takes a minute or two, but also because you used whole words and complete sentences. (Well stated llbigwave.)
People wonder why the U.S. is dragging behind most of the developed world, yet it's obvious when people don't study, learn to read and write, much less learn history so as to not repeat mistakes. That's also why America keeps repeating far too many of their mistakes, that and arrogance of refusing to look at the methods and history of other nations which are much older and therefore have a great deal more experience on which to draw. Yet another reason is that America doesn't value anyone over 45 or 50, but instead refuses to hire millions of well experienced people, opting instead for the cheaper labor of the inexperienced, claiming instead that they "want new and fresh ideas," as if a person over 45 can't be creative and offer any insight into new ideas. They have, afterall, lived to see what has been done already, what works and doesn't, AND they know how to read, write and use complete sentences, as well as having well developed interpersonal and communication skills.
Yeah, "immigration" is right...ILLEGAL immigration! And another reason salsa has taken over ketchup is simply that salsa is used for more things, you use up much more of it at a time, and therefore, you have to buy more of it. Personally, I love salsa, too, but this just means more is sold, it doesn't mean people like it any better.
"Another factor that plays into the growth is that non-Hispanics have become more adventurous eaters, and companies want to cater to that, Kabbani said."
Truly insightful. Tortilla chips are surely among the delicacies sought out by adventurous eaters worldwide. When you build up the courage to try them, indulge in some french fries and a burger too. You won't regret it. I swear.
Roadkill is among the delicacies sought out by tea party patriots.
I would let palintwit date my daughter.
Either get some new material, or either comment on the food. Your years of anti-republican anti-palin "jokes" are so lame, I don't know why democratic party members would want you frequently commenting on these boards. It makes you a look stupid by proxy
Talk about looking stupid, Vladt ... maybe there are folks out there who haven't yet seen palintwit's humor. You aren't the only poster ya know. Comments like yours just make you look old & bitter. If it's that tiresome to you, STFU and move along.
Come on Vlad, lighten up.
I may look old and bitter, but the clever retory of "STFU" shows your immaturity right back. His humor is so dated......why not throw in a ronald reagan joke as well?
He is baiting people to either defend a Republican side, so that he can encourage the seemingly majority of democrat CNN commenters to jump on the bandwagon to make them look foolish. Whats worse, is he trolls eatocracy, a board that should be devoid of politics.
Call me old and bitter....I actually just like good humor. If I wanted the same version of a stale joke over and over, I would start watching Saturday Night Live again
Fritos aren't potato chips, they're corn chips. And I've never heard corn chips referred to as Tostitos. What a dumb article.
Tortilla chips are not called 'tostadas' in Mexico. A 'tostada' is a complete tortilla that has been fried until it is crispy, just as tortilla chips. Tortilla chips are called 'totopos'.
Where is the Frito Bandito when you need him?
Dorito means hard. it is a word
No, the word is 'durito', which means 'slightly hard'.
Americans ruined it, added preservatives,sugar and chemicals ,MSG. We ruin everything
Just as most any other "American" food you can think of, it took something and made it better. Chop suey, pizza, and now tacos and burritos as an example. That was the beauty of the old model "melting pot" versus the "cultural diversity" of today, it blended and made something stronger than the sum of its parts.
"Doritos," Spanish for “little golden things.”
Uh, no. That would be the meaning of "doraditos". "Doritos" is not a Spanish word. It might be Mexican slang for "doraditos" but I'm not Mexican so I don't know much about it.
I always thought my mom invented the tortilla chips back in the early fifties. She would offer them to us with guacamole o a bean dip. We did swear that made us the richest family in the whole State of Chihuahua. But I bet that was a common feeling in most Mexican families. IT makes me happy to know that enjoying such tasty and nutritive food goes across all kinds of boundaries.
I have tried many kinds of foods from many different countries, but somehow I always go back to those foods containing the strong flavor of the many hot chilies that exist everywhere, except maybe in France, they do make very great desserts though. I have to reckon, Mexican food is a gift from the gods.
Actually I find authentic Mexican food rather bland, uninteresting and boring. But Tex-Mex and Americanized food is very good.
You obviously haven't been to Mexico City and surrounding areas. Bland, it's not. There's a reason people in the DF (Federal District) are called "Chilangos" – which some people translated as "Land of the Chilis".
Now I'm definitely hungry.
You obviously haven't tried authentic Mexican food. I'm American and lived in Mexico for a number of years and it is definitely flavorful. Granted, most Americans can't take the heat of the salsas that compliment the food. I would recommend trying some tacos al pastor.
Hey Dennis it's all Mexican food ! The Mexicans didn't leave the southwest after it became part of the US and food wise was still and is today part of mexico . Mexican food is very easy for people to make and the ingredients as we'll unlike something like sushi. What is authentic is what ever u like! What is an authentic hamburger? The food in the US is still made by some mexican making 7 dollars an hour and making the food he makes at home !
I agree, I think the United States will turn into Mexico soon
Didn't the Southwestern U.S. territories belonged to Mexico until the mid 1800? That's one quarter of all US territories.
Martha meant "... back into Mexico soon."
Pat, I agree, See my comments from 2/26 at 3:39pm
I really dont care? Too many mexicans here anyway. Pretty soon we will all be minorities compared to them
Who cares, they are people too. your bigotry is disgusting.
Would it be possible to stick to the subject of food?
Food unites us at the table, it is a gift to the sense we all share. Can we exchange stories, anecdotes, points of view, and experiences?
I feel this would be a lot more fun, and healthier for the digestive system.
Enjoy life , good food and drink. And never alone.
But most of "them" are Americans. Mexican-Americans perhaps, but Americans.
and quite good-looking, if I may add...
Dont blaim the Mexican, it has been the tradition of America to take the best a different culture has to offer and make it better then adopt it as its own making a stronger and better culture. That has been the beauty and strength of the Melting Pot vs. Cultural Diversity. Personally I love the Americanized mexican food just as much as the Americanized Chinese food or the American Pizza ..... NONE of which a native of that part of the world would recognise.
Pizza? Try Argentine and/or Brazilian pizza for a delightful surprise. You'll never want to go back to American pizza after that.
Anything Americanized is unhealthy. I would stick to the original.
Engaging in sweeping generalizations is also unhealthy. I think Americans pay more attention to the healthiness of their food in general (where it's grown, who made it, what the conditions were like at the place where the animal was butchered, how many calories it contains, what other chemicals it contains, etc) than any other nationality I know. Yes, we have a lot of unhealthy food. We also have a lot of healthy food. A lot of other countries have unhealthy food as well... but unsurprisingly, ethnic restaurants tend to only serve the healthiest food of their respective cultures to Americans, because Americans generally demand healthier food.
I'm sure native americans, eskimos and hawaiians don't care about you either. Maye the country of your ancestors would like you back. News flash, they were once immigrants.
Tortilla chips were served with salsa in most restaurants in Austin Tx way back in the 70's
I guess with this article the 500+ years of modern Mexican Culinary History ought to be banished.....
The tortilla chip (totopo), fried, oven dried or sun dried, has been a staple, as garnish, or ingredient of various traditional Mexican dishes (although, never eaten alone or with guacamole at traditional homes as in the US). "Tortilla Soup", "Refried Beans with Chorizo and Cheese", "Tostadas" (full fried tortillas or in chips), "Vanilla Cream with Cinnamon and Sugar Coated Totopos" and other delicious dishes that require the company of "totopos" are some of the examples of the many dishes that have been using them for centuries for flavoring or for decoration alone.
I was shocked to read the CNN note about the 'history' of the 'Tortilla Chip' and after being a gourmet 'foodie' and an eager reader of world cuisines for a great deal of my adult life I couldn't keep my 'mouth' shut. Cheers people.
P.s.: Potato Chips are a staple of both, Spanish and Mexican Cuisines. Potatoes are a native root from the Americas and when the Spaniards arrived in the 1500's, Mexican and Peruvian cultures had already potatoes as an important part of their daily diets. Probably the Spaniards were the ones to FRY THEM and turn them into what in Spain it's been called for centuries PATATAS FRITAS or PAPAS FRITAS in Mexico, but only in Mexico the "Papas Fritas" have been also a traditional street food, with powdered chili pepper, salt and sometimes lime juice (sweet or regular potatoes).
The first time the "Papas Fritas" were industrialized in Mexico was in the early 1940's, by the parent company of the future "SABRITAS Company". The brand was purchase by PEPSICO in 1966. FRITO LAY was founded by PEPSICO in the same year.... and the "POTATO CHIP" craze was born in the US. Cheers
..because it's real important to know the exact history of the nacho chip and other third-world cuisine out of Mexico.
Seriously? If you don't care about the history of food, just close your mouth and move on. No reason to make a snide comment, unless your life is so devoid of meaning that you feel you must.
It's more important to enjoy the food you are eating than know the history of it; however, knowing the history is an added bonus. And everybody is allowed to have their opinion...it's your reaction to it that should be studied. Peace!
"While the tortilla chip’s history is still a bit blurry, Frito-Lay’s heavy marketing and branding has been so influential that most people refer to tortilla chips as "Tostitos," even if they aren’t buying the Frito-Lay brand."
um, I for one have NEVER heard anybody refer to tortilla chips as Tostitos, even if they're talking about that brand. they're just called tortilla chips. Personally, I don't like the tostitos brand. we have a restaurant that makes fresh chips, and you can buy them there, still warm and oh so good. I either eat those, or make my own. either way, tortilla chips are SO much better than potato chips. I think I've veered away from my original point, but oh well.
I was going to say the same thing. I've never once heard anyone refer to tortilla chips as "Tostitos" and I've lived all over the country. Everyone says tortilla chips.
I have heard lots of people call them Tostitos. I've even caught myself saying it.
Same here. Most people I know call them corn chips. I think we just read a paid advertisement for Tostitos.
If that's the case, I'm still waiting for my check! Y'all know that's NOT how it works, right?
"Corn chips" is my generic word. It's kinda like "would you hand me a kleenex?" I don't really care what brand it is, I'm just not dainty enough to use words like 'tissue" or "hanky." "Hanky" is the prefix for panky. ~_~
I haven't heard anyone call tortilla chips Tostitos but I have added "Scoops" to a grocery list before. They're the only scoop shaped chip I know of. I wonder if it's regional?
Tostadas are something else, they are called totopos. The are not made from leftover tortilla dough but from unsold/uneaten tortillas....
Interesting captions; however "French Fries" were more likely "invented" in Peru after Spaniards introduced deep frying techniques, as the Portuguese did in Japan (Tempura). Fries migrated to Belgium, which was, for a time, part of the Spanish empire.
Check out other "Hispanic" foods introduced to Europe and then brought to the US: Tomatoes, Chocolate, Vanilla, Pineapple (not Hawaii), Beans, etcetera.
Enjoy with good humor ad your favorite beverage.
Don't forget the chile con queso.
Germans don't call sausages or Hot Dogs "wiener", "Wiener" means "Viennese". A "Wiener Würstchen", however, means "Viennese Sausage."
Yes, a tremendous contribution (smirk). Boy, anything by these shills to tout the country where their loyalty truly lies.
What does that even mean? I suspect your whole life has been one continuous smirk.
You sounds like a Wiener Würstchen.
Reblogged this on Mr. Feliz's Blog (Teacher Arturo).
This article is really making me crave all these delicious things. I will reluctantly point out that Fritos aren't potato chips, to allow for correction. To make up for posting this error, I will say that I believe the author is a wonderful and beautiful person unlike no other. Maybe because we all are at our core heart spirit, or maybe just a hunch. Which sounds like crunch. There goes my stomach again...
This is NOT an article about "10 foreign foods that are American staples" This is an article written by a Mexican talking about "Mexican" dishes.
Yes, the article is specifically about tortilla chips. The slideshow at the top of the article, however, is about 10 different imported foods that became American staples. Nachos happen to be the first one on the list.
The article is about "How a Mexican snack became an American staple". The "10 foreign foods that are American staples" is the name of the slide show of 10 pictures of food. You are complaining about nothing. There are two things on this page, a slide show of 10 foods, and a story about one food. They each have separate names.
Facts should be presented correctly
The nacho was not invented by "a Mexican". It was in fact created by a Mexican-American living in Dallas Texas and the first nachos that can be correctly proven were served at cowboys stadium. The comed was that Madden was announcing the game, had some and misunderstood that "NACHOS!" was the name of the food and not an expression, so he famously (any real Texan knows the story) made funny comments in the game like "WOW, THAT TACKLE WAS NACHOS!" There are lots of other stories claiming to be first, but the Cowboys stadium can be easily researched.
Not exactly right, the original Nachos as quoted by the article appeared 30+ years before they Dallas Nachos:
"A modified version of the dish, with cheese sauce and prepared tortilla chips was marketed in 1976 by Frank Liberto, owner of Rico's Products, during sporting events at Arlington Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This version became known as "ball park nachos". During a Monday Night Football game, sportscaster Howard Cosell enjoyed the name "nachos", and made a point of mentioning the dish in his broadcasts over the following weeks, further popularizing it and introducing it to a whole new audience."
I've been out of university for several years now, but one thing I remember clearly is Wikipedia should not be a reference source cited, if you want to lend credibility to your facts. In this instance, Wikipedia maybe right, maybe wrong. Who knows for sure? Moral is Wikipedia is okay for CNN blog posts, but for everything else you should use MasterCard. :)
Honestly, I'm surprised CNN even allowed him to post a link at all. Normally it blocks them. As far as citing Wiki as a source, don't do it in a research paper, but it's normally fine for an informal post on a forum, especially if it's a well-sourced Wiki article. People who are interested in further research can look up the sources and read those. Wikipedia is very accurate for most matters. It's just controversial matters (particularly those where politics are involved) where it starts to get sticky. Even then, it can be a good place to find links to better sources, though.
The article and Army Guy correct. Ignacio Ayala did invent the Nacho.
I just watched a special on Mexican food yesterday on Travel Channel, and they mentioned Ignacio Ayala and El Moderno Restaurant.
They can't even compare with what is sold at ball parks.
My family was making nachos before Dallas Stadium was even a twinkle in a developers eye.
Oh. I misunderstood your misunderstanding. Seems we are on the same page. Carry on.
Yup. Isn't the internet fun?
Who knew a potato sack could be se xy?
I'm surprised someone had the nerve to point out (by implication) that George Washington Carver did NOT invent peanut butter; particularly on the first day of black history month.
Good grief. That's a reach.......
What's a reach?
Going down the whole Black History Month/George Washington Carver road. Yes-he did great things, but it's just peanut but ter. He didn't invent it.
Of course he didn't invent it; yet it's still common to hear claims that he did. Putting the Incas aside, he wasn't even the first person in the US or Canada to make and sell it around that time. If you already knew this, you're in the minority.
The only thing Carver really excelled at was self-promotion. He didn't invent peanut butter, nothing that he did develop was ever widely adopted, he didn't save southern agriculture (already recovering before his work), and he had minimal impact teaching crop rotation (which he didn't invent or develop) to small farmers.
My apologies friend. Completely took your post the wrong way. I need to remember to engage the brain before posting ;)
Top post was supposed to be a reply to you.
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