Death by Potatoes

  • Chelsea Jones
Death by Potatoes

Millet Tots provide a healthy, crispy alternative to the once staple crop

Potatoes have been an American staple since the 1800’s. Before the crop made its way to America, it was prevalent in Ireland. By the 1840’s half the Irish population, had become dependent almost exclusively on the potato for their diet. Because they relied so heavily on this one crop with limited varieties, the potato greatly reduced its genetic variety that ordinarily prevents decimation against disease.

Thus the Irish became vulnerable to famine, which ultimately killed many. White potatoes continue to have a big effect on us today. Over 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes, with one of the leading contributors to be known as white potatoes. 

Americans consume roughly 70 million pounds of Tater Tots every year.  Whether scooped onto a cafeteria lunch tray or offered as a snack on football Sunday, it’s been a deep-fried, sugar-filled food friend for years. Born from the end of World-War II rationing and an American desire for convenience, the Tater Tot arrived on the scene – formed from pieces of potatoes, left over from French fry production. In contrast to recent memories of lean pantries, the American family began to create new memories by way of backyard barbeques and bellies full of pre-packaged simplicity. Alongside the Tater Tot, the 1950s brought us Frosted Flakes cereal, the TV Dinner, Cheeze Whiz, and the very first McDonald’s.

It’s easy to see how the Tater Tot and other foods introduced amid the post-war boom have become adored and celebrated over the years. Many of our household food favorites evoke feelings of nostalgia and well being. They are also most often characterized by being high in fat, sugar, and calories. We call them “comfort foods.” The same foods that brought people comfort in the 1950s are still bringing people comfort in 2018. Although, unlike the naiveté of our American past, we presently stand rooted in an obesity epidemic. An epidemic triggered, in part, by the over-processed foods that once symbolized prosperity and hope in a post-war age. We have the information and resources to reshape our diets and change the trajectory of our future.

Pioneers in the health food industry are adopting the very passion that fueled innovations like the Tater Tot, but they’re now doing so with an abundance of health knowledge and a mission to not only meet the demand of the working American family, but also to make nutrient-dense products, rich with flavor. They are on a mission to make healthy food a delicious comfort, and it starts with Millet Tots


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