Tater tots piled on a plate
Tater Tots Were Introduced To The Public In A Super Clever Way
From Canadian "spud puppies" to British "oven crunchies," the snack Americans call tater tots are well-known in many countries. Their lasting fame began with a clever debut.
Tater tots were invented by brothers Francis Nephi and Golden Grigg, a pair of Idahoan potato farmers hoping to repurpose pieces of potato leftover after slicing fries.
After buying a flash freezing factory in Ontario, Oregon in 1949, the brothers started a company to sell their tots, named Ore-Ida in honor of their move from Idaho to Oregon.
To debut their creation, the brothers headed to the National Potato Convention in 1954, but instead of focusing on the judges, the brothers’ target audience was future customers.
In order to get their product out, the brothers bribed the head chef at the hotel hosting the convention to serve 15 pounds of tater tots at breakfast.
Dishes of tots were placed on each table, and according to Nephi in his personal essay “History of the Tot,” “these were all gobbled up faster than a dead cat could wag its tail.”
Despite the sneaky debut, the American public hardly needed tricks in order to love tater tots. Once it hit the market in 1956, the product found immediate and lasting success.