Old El Paso

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Old El Paso
Old El Paso logo
Product type Mexican food
Owner General Mills
Country U.S.
Introduced 1938
Markets Worldwide
Previous owners Mountain Pass Canning Company
Pet, Inc.
Pillsbury Company
Tagline "Start Somewhere Fresh"
Website www.oldelpaso.com

Old El Paso is a brand applied to a range of Mexican-style foods, including dinner kits, tacos and tortillas, sauces, condiments, rice and refried beans.

Old El Paso products are marketed across the globe. The brand is owned by General Mills. Pillsbury acquired it in 1995, when its then-parent company Grand Metropolitan bought Pet, Inc., which had itself taken over the brand in 1968 from the Mountain Pass Canning Company.[1]

The name is a reference to the city of El Paso, Texas and the historical " Old" period when Texas was a part of Mexico.

General Mills have repeated the style of this product line - a recipe kit with dry ingredients that the consumer finishes with their choice of fresh ingredients - in the Chinese Food range called Wanchai Ferry.

History and products[edit]

In 1917, the Mountain Pass Canning Company in New Mexico was bought from a local in El Paso, Texas. The Old El Paso company originally started out with just selling canned tomatoes and pinto beans. By 1938, Old El Paso was established as an official brand in the US.

Old El Paso relocated to many locations around the US, before finally settling in Texas in 1958. In 1969, Old El Paso became the first company to offer a full line of Mexican meals and the first to advertise Mexican cuisine in the US.

In 1970, American supermarkets created a Mexican food section in their stores for the very first time, due to the influence of Old El Paso and other Mexican food products. Also in the 70s, Old El Paso took their taco dinner kits to a global stage, where many international markets were unfamiliar with Mexican cuisine. [2]

In 2010, Old El Paso unveiled a new stream of products under the “Smart Fiesta” line, also known as “Healthy Fiesta” in some regions. This line features healthier alternatives for their traditional dinner kits. The Smart Fiesta dinner kits include hard and soft taco shells and tortillas made with whole grain, and fajita and taco seasoning with reduced sodium. [3]

In 2013, Old El Paso introduced their new frozen entrees line, only available in the US. The product line features frozen ready-made burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and fajitas. The entrees are available in chicken, ground beef, or steak options. There are no vegan or vegetarian options that are currently present in the line. Old El Paso also created a short, 5 minute documentary on YouTube, titled “Exploring Mexican Cuisine” to promote the new line.

Today, Old El Paso is very well known and valued in countries such as United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy and Sweden. The company dominates the Mexican cuisine section in the supermarket and has no major competitors. [4]


In 2012, Old El Paso launched an online advertisement competition, where participants had to create a 15 second video advertisement and/or a banner advertisement that would promote the Old El Paso brand. Participants were allowed to pick one of two following themes: [5]

  • An “Old El Paso Mexican Night” theme, where participants were required to create a family dinner atmosphere where the focus is on the Old El Paso products – the ad is supposed to show a family feasting on a variety of Old El Paso products while celebrating and having fun – an emphasis should be made on Old El Paso being authentic Mexican style cuisine.
  • A theme that focuses entirely on the appeal of Mexican cuisine – assuring that only the products that Old El Paso makes can satisfy the craving for Mexican food


Video Awards:

  • 1st Place - $10,000
  • 2nd Place - $6,000
  • 3rd Place - $3,000
  • 4th Place - $1,000
  • 5th Place - $500
  • 6th Place - $500
  • Best of Theme 1 - $1,000
  • Best of Theme 2 - $1,000

Banner Awards:

  • 1st Place - $1,000
  • 2nd Place - $400
  • 3rd Place - $200
  • Best of Theme 1 - $200
  • Best of Theme 2 - $200


  1. ^ Pet Incorporated
  2. ^ "The Old El Paso Story". Old El Paso Australia. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Old El Paso Canada". Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Halter, Nick. "Staff reporter". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Old El Paso Ad Competition". Online Video Contests. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 

External links[edit]