The Lay’s website keeps their historical profile fairly succinct and to the point. In many respects the basics are all that are required to explain how a company became the biggest and best at what it does in the world.
“In 1932, C.E. Doolin entered a small San Antonio cafe and purchased a bag of corn chips. Little did he dream this savory chip would become one of the nation's most popular snacks.
“Mr Doolin learned that the manufacturer of the chips was eager to sell his small business, so he purchased the recipe, and began to sell Fritos Corn Chips from his Model T Ford.
“Meanwhile, that same year, Herman W Lay began his potato chip business in Nashville by delivering snack foods. Not long after, Mr Lay purchased the manufacturer, and the HW Lay & Company was formed.
“HW Lay & Company became one of the largest snack food companies in the Southeast, and Lay's brand Potato Chips is still America's favorite potato chip.
“Years later, in 1961, the Frito Company and the HW Lay company merged to become Frito-Lay, Inc. Today, Frito-Lay brands account for 59% of the U.S. snack chip industry.
“These days, our founders' dream to be America's favorite snack food company continues to be fulfilled by more than 45,000 Frito-Lay employees in the United States and Canada who make, sell, and deliver a wide variety of fun and environmentally friendly foods for you to enjoy.”
If anything, the company’s own historical account is modest. The successes were not overnight. It is a tale of gradual growth and progression. Indeed, just four years after the two companies became Frito-Lay, the company merged with the Pepsi-Cola Company, to become PepsiCo, Inc.
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The Frito-Lay part of the company began operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of PepsiCo.
Their snack related products, and there are more than thirty different brands operating under the Frito-Lay umbrella in the USA alone, makes the company by far and away the world’s biggest Chips & Crisps, and snack producer in the world.
The Frito Company acquired the rights to the Ruffles brand of Potato Chips in 1958. Further marketing and development has taken Ruffles, as a standalone brand, to the status of the second best selling Potato Chips in the world.
Indeed, in the United States alone, Lay's are first, Lay's Wavy are third, and Lay's Kettle Cooked are fifth (behind Pringles). The standing of Pepsi-Co's brands is incomparable.