Updated February 2, 2024
On February 2nd, National Tater Tot Day recognizes a kitchen staple. In the United States, we consume approximately 3.5 billion of these nuggets of potato goodness per year.
- These bite-sized bits of golden created the scraps from making French fries once were used to feed cattle.
- Two brothers, Nephi and Golden Grigg, along with their brother-in-law started dabbling in frozen food when they rented a plant on the Oregon and Idaho borders in 1934. By 1952, they purchased the plant, forming the Oregon Frozen Foods Company that would later become Ore-Ida.
- Tater Tots literally mean “baby potatoes”; tatter for potato & tots “meaning little one.”
- 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.
- 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, as a side-dish made from deep-fried, grated potatoes.
- Tater Tots were first available in stores in 1956.
- Americans consume over 70 million pounds or Tots per year.
- In Australia, tater tots are known as “potato gems.”
- 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.
- Four years after going public in 1961, Ore-Ida was purchased by Heinz, and today tater tots rank right up there with potato chips and French fries on the list of beloved fried potato products.
- 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.
- The British call tater tots “potato croquettes.”
- Sonic fast food restaurant is a tater tot hot spot.