Quick Chek Contest Pays Tribute to Memory of Man Behind Doritos

West, 97, buried with his iconic chips

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. -- In memory of Arch West, the man who created Doritos, convenience retailer Quick Chek staged an impromptu contest on its Facebook page to give away a $150 gift card. "Respond to this post with your favorite Doritos flavor, and we'll pick someone at random to win," the company said in announcing the contest on Monday. More than 1,000 fans responded.

West, who died September 20 at age 97, was a marketing vice president at Frito-Lay in the early 1960s when he came across a restaurant near San Diego where the chips were especially tasty, said a report by the Wall Street Journal. After he failed to persuade his bosses to copy the product as a companion to the company's corn-based Fritos and Cheetos, West secretly spent part of his budget on the project anyway.

Introduced nationally in 1966, Doritos--"little bits of gold" is how Frito-Lay translates the name--were a hit in plain and "taco" flavors. The Nacho cheese flavor, which Frito-Lay said was a blend of cheddar and Romano, debuted in 1972 under West's guidance.

Doritos became Frito-Lay's second-biggest seller, behind Lay's potato chips.

Sales of Doritos grew to more than $1.2 billion in the past year, according to the report, citing SymphonyIRI Group, Chicago.

West was also involved with developing other products, including Funyuns. He also encouraged Texas picante sauce manufacturer Eric Pace to embrace the synergy of selling salsa in the chips aisle of the grocery store, said the report.

In recent decades, Frito-Lay re-engineered Doritos, making them thinner and adding dozens of new flavors such as "Pizza Supreme" and "Scorchin' Habanaro." West wasn't enthusiastic about the changes, the report said, or the brand's recent spate of irreverent Super Bowl ads.

But daughter Jana Hacker told the Dallas Morning News that they plan on "tossing Doritos chips in before they put the dirt over the urn," which carries his remains, inside the ground.

Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Quick Chek is a market leader in foodservice with a fresh coffee and fresh food program. Operating more than 125 retail locations in New Jersey and southern New York, Quick Chek's locations include 12 pharmacy stores and 29 locations with fuel.