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Sesame Seed Doritos
In 1975, Doritos took a delicious but unexpected turn when they released Sesame Seed Doritos. While they might sound like a mild chip when compared to more zesty and aggressive modern flavors, the Sesame Seed Dorito was packed with nutty sesame flavor that made for a nice change of pace.
Doritos got their start in of all places, Disneyland. There in the early sixties at the Casa de Fritos a salesperson saw how many tortillas were being wasted. He made a suggestion and they started cutting up and frying surplus tortillas and seasoning them. They were very successful and the restaurant’s sponsor, Frito Lay, decided to produce larger batches of the chips to test them out. Response to them was overwhelming and by 1966, they were being sold nationwide.
While successful from the beginning, Frito Lay saw there was greater potential in their triangular snack chip and in 1968 introduced Taco flavored Doritos. Then in 1972, Doritos reached new heights by introducing the now dominant Nacho cheese-flavored Doritos. This spicy lineup was changing the way Americans thought about snacking. So where would Frito Lay go from there? You would think zestier, but no.
People like the taste of sesame seeds. They have added flavor to food and snacks for thousands of years, but nationally the United States didn’t have a blockbuster snack chip supporting them. Which is really all that matters. So Frito Lay thought that this needed to change.
Introducing the newest Doritos flavor! Sesame Seed Doritos, with real sesame seeds toasted right in for a mild, nutty taste. Try ’em for snacks, dips, and in recipes. They’re new from Frito Lay.
Frito Lay (1975)
In 1975, Sesame Seed Doritos hit the market with an ad campaign featuring longtime Doritos spokesman Avery Schreiber. They also had a wonderful, but obvious catchphrase, Open Sesame.
Who was Avery Schreiber?
Schreiber was a comedic actor who rose to prominence in the 1960s as part of a comedy duo with Jack Burns. Schreiber was instantly recognizable with his bushy mustache. He appeared in dozens of films and television shows but would become a household name for his decades-spanning work in Doritos television commercials.
They made a single commercial for Sesame Seed Doritos that featured Schreiber as some sort of Sultan being carried around in a royal chair and offered all manner of treasures. The only one he responds to is an offer of this new Doritos variant. He is excited and when he bites into it, the crunch is so powerful is knocks him to the floor.
They also made a push in newspapers and retail chains. Adding mentions of the new product in supermarket print advertising along with 10 cent coupons. This was a pretty good deal since a 5.5-ounce bag generally retailed for about 40 or 50 cents. One store even threw in a packet of seeds with every purchase. That is a great deal.
While I find evidence of their distribution in several regions of the United States, it is not clear if they ever went nationwide with Sesame Seed Doritos. Perhaps this was their plan, but they never had the opportunity because the new chips did not set the world on fire in this test run.
Was America just not ready to fall in love with a Sesame chip? Was the flavor just too mild for the slowly widening palette of 1970’s snackers? Whatever the reason, by 1977 just about all traces that Sesame Seed Doritos ever existed were gone.
This original run would survive only in the memory of people who had the opportunity to enjoy them at the time. Some would even enjoy false memories of the chips since copycat versions of them would follow by chipmakers hoping to make some money where Frito Lay had failed. I enjoyed Wise Sesame Bravo Chips well into the Eighties and confused them with the Doritos’ version.
If you are a fan or just intrigued by the idea of Sesame-flavored Tortilla Chips, we may be in luck. Frito Lay has shown that they were both willing to experiment with flavors and lean into “retro” branding. It isn’t a guarantee, but it does give me hope.
If you happen to live in Japan or know a food importer, that country has a line of Gourmet Doritos. This line is very experimental and surprising. At some point, they released a Sesame Salt Dorito. I have only seen a couple of mentions of it here in the United States and that was back in 2013. So I am not sure I would count that as a reliable source of Sesame Doritos.
In the meantime, I have either been buying the Garden of Eatin’ Blue Corn Sesame Tortilla Chips or I have been making my own chips at home. I spray some plain tortilla chips with vegetable oil spray, coat with sesame seeds, and bake them in the oven. They might not be the original, but they are pretty tasty in a pinch.