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Americans Consume Nearly 70 Million Pounds Of Tater Tots Per Year

tater tots

Tater Tots were first created in 1953 when Ore-Ida founders F. Nephi Grigg and Golden Grigg were trying to figure out what to do with leftover slivers of cut-up potatoes. They came up with the novel idea of chopping up the potato slivers, adding flour and seasoning, then pushing the mash through holes and slicing off pieces of what came out on the other side.

  • Tater Tots were first invented in 1953 at the Ore-Ida Labs
  • Tater Tots literally mean “baby potatoes”; tater for potato & tots meaning little one
  • In 1954 at The Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, The Tater Tots were born. Two stories below the dining room where all the members of the 1954 National Potato Convention.  Nephi was bargaining with the head chef. In his bag he had carried 15 pounds of his new creation all the way from Oregon, and he wanted them cooked and served. What better test audience than a group of potato-men? After some bribing, the chef agreed. The innovation was cooked, placed in small saucers, and distributed on the tables as samples.
  • When Tater Tots were first invented, the Griggs needed to come up with a name, so they held a contest among employees and their friends. Clora Lay Orton, a young housewife, suggested the name Tater Tots.
  • Tater Tots is a registered trademark for a commercial form of hash browns made by Ore-Ida, are a side-dish made from deep-fried, grated potatoes.
  • Tater Tots were first available in stores in 1956.
  • Americans consume approximately 70 million pounds of tater tots per year.
  • In Australia, they are known as “potato gems”, “potato royals” or “potato pom-poms”.
  • in Canada you’ll find Tasti Taters. Other imitators include Tater Treats, Spud Puppies, Trader Potato Tots (at Trader Joe’s), and Tater Puffs (Whole Foods).
  • One of the ingredients in Tater Tots is disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate, which is generally recognized as safe by the FDA but is also used to remove hair and feathers from livestock.
  • Tater Tots were sold extremely cheaply when they were first invented because they were essentially fried scraps, but they didn’t sell as expected for that very reason. There was no “perceived value” (consumers just assumed they were worthless because the price was so low), but they started selling once the price was increased.
  • If you’re from the Midwest (especially Minnesota and North Dakota) you certainly know what a hotdish casserole is; it’s one of the classic regional specialties. Just about everyone has their own recipe, but they usually contain some combination of canned cream soup, ground meat, vegetables, and potatoes, usually of the Tater Tot variety.
  • Like Corn Flakes and other pioneer brands like Band-Aid and Kleenex, lots of people don’t realize that Tater Tot is a proprietary brand name. In order to raise awareness that there’ only one official Tater Tot, in 2014 they launched an ad campaign urging consumers to “not be fooled by imi-taters,” with Tots disguised as cowboys, pirates, and other silly costumes.




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