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The history of the Tater Tot

 Today's Ore Ida Tater Tots
January 18, 2008

The Tater Tot held its debutante ball, fittingly, at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. The swooping post-modern structure had itself just debuted in 1954, signaling the country's interest in new forms, new conveniences, new luxuries — all financed with infusions of postwar cash.

The coming-out event wasn't actually a dance in honor of a frozen food, but rather a breakfast at the National Potato Convention being held at the hotel. One attendee — F. Nephi "Neef"Grigg of Ore-Ida Foods in Idaho — had smuggled in a satchel of what would be his greatest invention and bribed the head chef to prepare them.

"They were gobbled up,"Grigg wrote, "faster than a dead cat could wag its tail."

Half a century later, the gobbling of Tater Tots continues unabated — to the tune of more than 3.6 billion annually. Grigg's solution for using up scrap generated from the processing of frozen french fries has become an iconic American food — snack, side dish, object of adoration.

Companies in this Article
H.J. Heinz Company, offering "Good Food Every Day"™ is one of the world's leading marketers and producers of healthy, convenient and affordable foods specializing in ketchup, sauces, meals, soups, snacks and infant nutrition.