Santa Maria UK Foodservice

Celebrating National Nacho Day: The history of Nachos

How Nachos changed the world

Nachos have undoubtedly secured their place as a beloved dish on menus across a diverse range of out-of-home (OOH) dining establishments. Impressively, they feature on 1/3 of OOH menus, with Pubs and Bars leading the way at a remarkable 80% inclusion rate. While 25% of Quick-Service Restaurant (QSR) menus offer this crowd-pleaser, 1 in 5 restaurants also recognize the irresistible appeal of Nachos. It's no surprise given that 83% of consumers express a strong inclination to order Nachos when dining out, and 19% savour them at least once a month. These crunchy delights aren't just an occasional treat; they've become a substantial part of OOH menus, with 84% showcasing them as starters, 12% as mains, and 10% as sides. Moreover, Nachos cater to today's mega-trends, satisfying cravings for indulgent and comforting food while delivering a memorable dining experience. It's clear that Nachos have cemented their status as a beloved favourite among diners.

Nachos are a popular Tex-Mex dish consisting of tortilla chips that are typically topped with melted cheese and a variety of additional ingredients. The history of nachos is an interesting tale with its origins in Mexico and its popularization in the United States. Here's a chronological overview:

The history of Nachos

Creation in Piedras Negras, Mexico (1940s): Nachos are believed to have been invented in the 1940s in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, by a maître d' named Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya. The story goes that a group of U.S. military wives visited the Victory Club, the restaurant where Anaya worked. Noticing that the kitchen was short-staffed, Anaya quickly created a snack using the ingredients he had on hand: tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, and jalapeño peppers. He called the dish "Nacho's Especiales" after his own nickname. It became an instant hit.

Introduction to the United States (1940s-1950s): The popularity of nachos quickly spread across the border into the United States, primarily in the southwestern states. Nachos were first introduced to a broader American audience at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas in 1962. The dish was a big success, and it soon made its way onto the menus of restaurants and sports venues throughout the country.

  1. Evolution and Variations (1960s-1970s): As nachos gained popularity, they underwent various transformations. Additional toppings, such as guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and various meats (e.g., ground beef, shredded chicken, or pulled pork), were added to create a wide range of nacho variations to suit different tastes.
  2. Nacho Cheese Dispensers (1976): The widespread use of nacho cheese dispensers at movie theatres, stadiums, and convenience stores in the 1970s helped solidify nachos as a popular snack option. These dispensers made it easy to pour hot, liquid cheese over chips.
  3. Nacho Competitions and Festivals (1980s-2000s): Nacho competitions and festivals began to emerge in the United States, celebrating the creativity and variety of nacho recipes. These events encouraged chefs and food enthusiasts to experiment with different ingredients and flavours.
  4. International Popularity (Late 20th Century - Present): Nachos gained popularity outside of the United States and Mexico and can now be found in many parts of the world. Local adaptations and regional variations of nachos have developed, incorporating ingredients and flavours unique to each culture.

Today, nachos remain a popular and versatile snack or appetizer, enjoyed in various forms at restaurants, sports events, parties, and in the comfort of people's homes. They are a symbol of the fusion of Mexican and American culinary traditions and continue to evolve with innovative toppings and creative recipes.

The celebration of National Nacho Day

Nacho Day, also known as National Nachos Day, is a food holiday celebrated on November 6th each year. It's a day dedicated to celebrating one of the most beloved and iconic snacks or appetizers: nachos. Nachos typically consist of tortilla chips topped with melted cheese and various toppings like jalapeño peppers, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and often additional ingredients like ground beef or shredded chicken.

On National Nachos Day, people across the United States and in some other countries commemorate this tasty dish by enjoying nachos at restaurants, sports events, or even by making them at home. It's an opportunity for nacho enthusiasts to savour their favourite variations of nachos and appreciate the creativity that goes into making this versatile and delicious snack.

You can celebrate Nacho Day by visiting a local Mexican restaurant, a sports bar, or by hosting a nacho-themed party at home, complete with different toppings and dipping sauces to enjoy with your nachos. It's a fun and delicious way to embrace this popular Tex-Mex treat.

How Santa Maria have combined popular world flavours and nachos

At Santa Maria, we have been a pioneer in flavouring since 1911, it started as a little spice shed in Gothenburg Sweden. Since then, we have travelled several laps around the globe to find new flavour experiences. We have tasted everything that has come our way. We are proud to offer you a wide range of Tortillas, Tortilla Chips, Spices, Sauces, and accompaniments. We constantly evolve our products and recipes to provide great taste and the best quality. We take pride in knowing we are experts of flavour.

Korean food is another popular world flavour trend that has been on the rise in recent years, and several factors contribute to its widespread appeal.  Korean cuisine is known for its distinctive and bold flavours. Dishes often combine a variety of tastes, from spicy and savoury to sweet and umami. Iconic ingredients like red pepper, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce add depth and complexity to the dishes. Korean pop culture, including K-dramas and K-pop, has contributed to the worldwide fascination with Korean culture, including its cuisine. Many people are eager to try the foods they've seen in their favourite shows. K-BBQ Fries are another easy way of providing the familiar in a new and different way.

Caribbean food has also gained traction in the UK for a variety of reasons. The Caribbean's climate and geography provide an abundance of fresh, tropical fruits and vegetables. The use of these fresh ingredients enhances the overall quality and taste of Caribbean dishes. It is also very versatile the cuisine is adaptable and accommodates various dietary preferences. Whether you are a meat lover, vegetarian, or vegan, you can find dishes that cater to your tastes. A Jamaican me hot burger for example uses a hybrid burger, which is 50% meat and 50% vegetables perfect for those who are looking to reduce their meat consumption and costs.

We have created our Nacho concept, whether you are looking to add Nachos to your menu or have Nachos but are looking for alternative flavours and ways to serve this concept is for you.  The Nachos concept is a range of recipes designed to take the Nacho plate to the next level.  

But don’t worry, all the recipes are operationally simple and made in 3 easy steps.

1. Base, 2. Toppings, 3. Garnish. It really is that easy anyone can do it.

Interested in finding out how you can elevate your offering using our Nacho concepts/recipes? Get in touch here with us now so that we can help grow your business. 


Santa Maria UK Ltd ∙ Nimbus House, Maidstone Road ∙ Kingston, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK10 0BD