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Template:Redirect Template:Globalize Template:Refimprove Template:Infobox Prepared Food Potato chips (Known as chips in American English, Australian English and Canadian English, as well as most European languages; or crisps in Irish English and British English) are thin slices of potato that are deep fried or baked until crispy. Potato chips are commonly served as an appetizer, side dish, or snack.

Basic chips are cooked and salted; additional varieties are manufactured using various flavorings and ingredients including seasonings, herbs, spices, cheeses, and artificial additives.

Potato chips are a predominant part of the snack food market in English-speaking countries and numerous other Western nations. The global potato chip market generated total revenues of US$16.4 billion in 2005; this accounted for 35.5% of the total savory snacks market in that year (US$46.1 billion).[1]


According to a traditional story, the original potato chip recipe was created in Saratoga Springs, New York on August 24, 1853. Agitated by a patron's repeatedly sending his fried potatoes back complaining that they were too thick and soggy, resort hotel chef George Crum became determined to slice the potatoes even thinner. Contrary to Crum's expectations, Vanderbilt liked the new chips and they soon became a regular item on the lodge's menu under the name "Saratoga Chips". The snack eventually became popular throughout New York and New England.

In the 20th century, potato chips spread beyond chef-cooked restaurant fare and began to be mass produced for home consumption. The Dayton, Ohio-based Mike-sell's Potato Chip Company, founded in 1910, calls itself the "oldest potato chip company in the United States".[2] While New England-based Tri-Sum Potato Chips, originally founded in 1908 as the Leominster Potato Chip Company, in Leominster, Massachusetts claim to be America's first potato chip.[3] Chips sold in markets were usually sold in tins or scooped out of storefront glass bins and delivered by horse and wagon. The early potato chip bag was wax paper with the ends ironed or stapled together. At first, potato chips were packaged in barrels or tins, which left chips at the bottom stale and crumbled. Laura Scudder started having her workers take home sheets of wax paper to iron into the form of bags, which were filled with chips at her factory the next day. This innovation kept the chips fresh and crisp longer and, along with the invention of cellophane, allowed potato chips to become a mass market product.

Seasoned chips[]


Potato chips and other snacks at a store in the United States.

In an idea originated by the Smiths Potato Crisps Company Ltd, formed in 1920,[4] Frank Smith originally packaged a twist of salt with his crisps in greaseproof paper bags, which were then sold around London.

The potato chip remained otherwise unseasoned until an innovation by Joe "Spud" Murphy (1923–2001),[5] the owner of an Irish crisp company called Tayto, who developed a technology to add seasoning during manufacture in the 1950s. Though he had a small company, consisting almost entirely of his immediate family who prepared the crisps, the owner had long proved himself to be an innovator. After some trial and error, Murphy produced the world's first seasoned crisps, Cheese & Onion and Salt & Vinegar.

The innovation became an overnight sensation in the food industry, with heads of some of the biggest potato chip companies in the United States travelling to the small Tayto company to examine the product and to negotiate the rights to use the new technology. Companies worldwide sought to buy the rights to Tayto's technique.

File:Old smiths potato chips ad.jpg

An advertisement for Smith's Potato Crisps

The Tayto company's innovation changed the nature of the potato chip, and led to the end of Smith's twist of salt. (Walkers revived the idea of "salt in a bag", following their takeover of Smith's (UK) in 1979, with their Salt 'n' Shake potato crisps.[6]) Later chip manufacturers added natural and artificial seasonings to potato chips, with varying degrees of success. A product that had had a large appeal to a limited market on the basis of one seasoning now had a degree of market penetration through vast numbers of seasonings. Various other seasonings of chips are sold in different locales, including the original "Cheese and Onion", produced by Tayto, which remains by far Ireland's biggest manufacturer of crisps.


File:Potato Chips Rezowan.jpg

The Bangladeshi potato chips

There is little consistency in the English speaking world for names of fried potato cuttings. American and Canadian English use "chips" for the above mentioned dish—this term is also used (but not universally) in other parts of the world, due to the influence of American culture—and sometimes "crisps" for the same made from batter, and "French fries" for the hot crispy batons with a soft core. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, "crisps" are the brittle slices eaten at room temperature and 'chips' refer to the hot dish (as in "fish and chips"). In Australia, New Zealand some parts of South Africa, the general West Indies especially in Barbados, both forms of potato product are simply known as "chips", as are the larger "home-style" potato crisps. Sometimes the distinction is made between "hot chips" (fried potatoes) and "packet crisps", or simply "potato chips" in Australia and New Zealand. In Bangladesh it is generally known as Chip, Chips, Crisps (pronounced "kiris") and locally Álu'ŗ Păpôr.

Health concerns[]

Potato chips were originally fried and seasoned without concern for trans fats, sodium, sugar, or other nutrient levels. As nutritional intake guidelines were created in various countries and the nutrition facts label became commonplace, consumers, advocacy groups, and health organizations have focused on the nutritional value of so-called junk foods, including potato chips.[7]

Some potato chip companies have responded to the criticism, both informal and legal, by investing in research and development to modify existing recipes and create health-conscious products. Kettle Foods was founded in 1978 and currently sells only trans fat-free products, including potato chips. PepsiCo research shows that approximately 80% of salt on chips is not sensed by the tongue before being swallowed. Frito-Lay spent $414 million in 2009 on product development, including development of salt crystals that would reduce the salt content of Lay's potato chips without adversely affecting flavor.[7]

Examples of regional varieties[]

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Hedgehog flavored crisps

  • In the US, the most popular forms of seasoned potato chips include "sour cream and onion", "barbecue", "ranch", salt & vinegar, and cheese-seasoned chips, including nacho flavor and cheddar (usually with sour cream).Template:Citation needed In the Chesapeake Bay area, Utz distributes Beer Chips, which are flavored with beer; and "crab chips", flavored with an Old Bay analogue seasoning, but containing no actual crab. Pennsylvania-based Herr's has a similar "Old Bay" variety. Herr's also produces a ripple chip featuring Heinz ketchup seasoning.[8][9] In Louisiana, Zapp's (located just west of New Orleans) manufactures chips in flavors such as Cajun Crawtator (flavored with crawfish boiling seasonings) and Creole Tomato (flavored with Tabasco pepper sauce). Stores in Arizona and some of the other Southwestern states sell lime flavored chips using the Mexican name, "Limón".

The most popular dips for potato chips are sour cream and french onion dip.

  • In Canada, seasonings include dill pickle, ketchup, all-dressed, salt and vinegar, barbecue, salt and pepper, bacon, chicken, fries and gravy, and even curry. In Toronto and Vancouver, Lay's offers wasabi chips to appeal to the large Asian populations.[10]
  • The market in United Kingdom is dominated by Walkers (at present a regional brand of Lay's) which is known for its wide variety of crisps. The three main flavors are ready salted, cheese & onion and salt & vinegar, however other typical examples include prawn cocktail, worcestershire sauce (known by Walkers as Worcester Sauce), roast chicken, steak & onion, smoky bacon, lamb & mint, ham & mustard, barbecue, BBQ rib, tomato ketchup, sausage & ketchup, pickled onion, Branston Pickle, Marmite and more exotic seasonings such as Thai sweet chili, roast pork & creamy mustard sauce, lime and Thai spices, chicken with Italian herbs, sea salt and cracked black pepper, turkey & bacon, caramelized onion & sweet balsamic vinegar, stilton & cranberry and mango chili. Kettle Foods Ltd's range of thick-cut crunchy crisps include gourmet flavors: Mexican Limes with a hint of Chilli, Salsa with Mesquite, Buffalo Mozzarella Tomato and Basil, Mature Cheddar with Adnams Broadside Beer, Soulmate Cheeses and Onion, and other previously listed flavors. Most seasonings contain only vegetarian-friendly ingredients, although some recent seasonings such as lamb & mint sauce contain meat extracts. In the early 1980s, there even existed 'Hedgehog brand flavoured crisps', these were widely on sale and received large publicity. McCoys Crisps are also popular in the UK. In Northern Ireland Tayto (NI) Ltd. dominate the market. This company is entirely unrelated to the Tayto company in the Republic of Ireland. In the north of England, Seabrook Potato Crisps are also popular, but they are much less common in the south.
  • In Ireland, the common varieties of crisps are mostly the same or similar to the ones sold in the UK. However in Ireland, Tayto is synonymous with crisps after the Tayto brand. Walkers crisps were launched there several years ago, but have failed to dominate the market. Hunky Dorys and King crisps are other popular Irish brands. In Irish, crisps are known as criospaí.
  • Japan also has a vast range of seasonings; they include nori & salt, consommé, wasabi, soy sauce & butter, takoyaki, kimchi, garlic, chili, scallop with butter, ume, mayonnaise, yakitori and ramen. Major manufacturers are Calbee,[11] Koikeya[12] and Yamayoshi.
  • In Hong Kong, the two prominent potato chips are the spicy "Ethnican" variety by Calbee,[13] and barbecue by Jack'n Jill. Lay's are also popular in Hong Kong. (With the most popular being BBQ and sour cream and onion.)
  • South Africa has a large variety of potato chip flavors, including "fruit chutney", "biltong" (beef jerky), "sausage", "worcestershire sauce", "peri peri" (Mozambican/Portuguese hot sauce flavor) and "tomato sauce" (ketchup flavor) among many others.
  • In mainland China, Lay's has introduced potato chips flavored in different Chinese cuisine, world cuisine, and even unexpected flavors such as cucumber.
  • On the other hand, in many continental EU countries, the vast majority of chips sold are paprika flavored.
  • In Germany, the most common flavor by far is Paprika. (In German, the word 'Paprika' refers to any form of what are known in American English as "peppers" – most commonly bell peppers, unless they are scharf or "hot.") More "exotic" varieties are also beginning to appear, including salt-&-vinegar and Asian flavors. The legendary "beer flavored" chips seem to be more of a myth or a marketing gag.
  • In the Netherlands, the market is dominated by Lay's; they offer a large variety of flavors, like: 'naturel' (salted), paprika, bolognese (Italian herbs and tomato), barbecued ham, cheese & onion, Mexican herbs, Heinz tomato ketchup, chili, spareribs, Mediterranean herbs, Thai sweet chili, Oriental spices, pepper & cream, chicken & thyme and spices & lime. In spite of all the flavors the old fashioned naturel (salted) and paprika crisps are the most popular.
  • In Sweden, the two dominant companies are Estrella (owned by Kraft Foods) and OLW. The most popular flavors are salted, grill (onion flavored), sour cream & onion and dill. More exotic flavors also exist such as sour cream & bearnaise and hot sweet chili.
  • In Norway, most chips are flavored with salt, salt and pepper or paprika. More exotic flavors like mushroom and horseradish are also available. Major brands include KiMs, Maarud and HOFF.
  • In Finland the market leader in potato chips business is Åland -based Taffel, or as it's known in Denmark and Norway, KiMs, with cheese -flavored "Juusto Snacks" and salt -flavored "Chips" as best known and most popular products, also sour cream and onion -flavored "Broadway" and 'barbecue' -flavored "Grill Chips" are popular.
  • In Austria, garlic flavored potato chips are available, and the restaurant Schweizerhaus offers fresh and deep-fryer-hot potato slices.
  • In Greece, oregano flavored chips are very popular.
  • In Mexico, many flavors feature spiciness. Popular flavors are salt, lime, habanero, 'Chile y Limón' and cheese.
  • In New Zealand, the most popular varieties of potato chips are ready salted, salt n' vinegar and chicken. In 2009, Bluebird Foods Limited released a unique range of chips made of classic New Zealand-loved flavors such as 'Meat Pie and Ketchup' and 'Reduced Cream and Onion Soup Dip'. The range is named 'Kiwi As'.
  • In Colombia, the five main flavors of chips are natural (ready salted), barbecue, chicken, mayonnaise and lemon.
  • In Spain, the most popular flavors are plain (fried with olive oil and salted), and ham flavor.
  • In the Philippines, local favorites include cheese, barbecue, and sour cream and onion.
  • In India/ Pakistan , there are a number of flavored varieties both in locally made and multi-national brands, such as Lay's. Some flavors are tomato, pudina (mint), masala, coriander, salt and pepper, and red chili powder. Most popular chip varieties are potato, tapioca, and plantain (yellow and green, each with its own distinct taste).
  • In Australia, the popular flavors are plain (salted), salt and vinegar, chicken, barbecue, and sour cream and chives.
  • In some Middle Eastern countries Template:Clarify, many popular American flavors and chicken-flavored chips are available. In others, salt and salt and pepper varieties are the most popular.
  • In Serbia, most popular potato chips are plain (salted), pizza, grill and ketchup flavored. The Chipsy company holds most of the Serbian potato-chip market.
  • In Russia, the popular flavors are plain (salted), onion, paprika, black pepper, and sour cream, with more unusual varieties like bacon, shashlik, crab, and caviar also on the market. Both Lay's and Pringles brands of potato chips are widespread, and Russian companies like Perekrestok also manufacture their own chips.
  • In Egypt, "Chipsy" is the most popular brand of potato chips. It has some flavors which are inspired by the local cuisine, such as Kebab, Stuffed vine leaves etc.

Similar foods[]

Another type of potato chip, notably the Pringles and Lay's Stax brands, is made by extruding or pressing a dough made from ground potatoes into the patented potato chip shape before frying. This makes chips that are very uniform in size and shape, which allows them to be stacked and packaged in rigid tubes. In America, the official term for Pringles is "potato crisps", but they are rarely referred to as such. Conversely Pringles may be termed "potato chips" in Britain, to distinguish them from traditional "crisps".

An additional variant of potato chips exists in the form of "potato sticks", also called "shoestring potatoes". These are made as extremely thin (2–3 mm) versions of the popular French fry, but are fried in the manner of regular salted potato chips. A hickory smoke flavor version is popular in Canada, going by the name "Hickory Sticks". Potato sticks are typically packaged in rigid containers, although some manufacturers use flexible pouches, similar to potato chip bags. Potato sticks were originally packed in hermetically sealed steel cans. In the 1960s, manufacturers switched to the less expensive composite canister (similar to the Pringle's container). Reckitt Benckiser was a market leader in this category under the Durkee Potato Stix and French's Potato Sticks names, but exited the business in 2008. In the UK, Walkers have made a brand of potato stick called "French Fries" which are available either in Ready Salted, Salt and Vinegar, Cheese and Onion or Worcester Sauce flavor.

A larger variant (approximately 1 cm thick) made with dehydrated potatoes is marketed as Andy Capp's Pub Fries, using the theme of a long running British comic strip, which are baked and come in a variety of flavors. Walkers make a similar product called "Chipsticks" which are Salt and Vinegar flavored. The Ready Salted flavor had been discontinued.

Some companies have also marketed baked potato chips as an alternative with lower fat content. Additionally, some varieties of fat-free chips have been made using artificial, and indigestible, fat substitutes. These became well-known in the media when an ingredient many contained, Olestra, was linked in some individuals to abdominal discomfort and loose stools.[14]

The success of crisp fried potato chips also gave birth to fried corn chips, with such brands as Fritos, CC's and Doritos dominating the market. "Swamp chips" are similarly made from a variety of root vegetables, such as parsnips, rutabagas and carrots. Japanese-style variants include extruded chips, like products made from rice or cassava. In South Indian snack cuisine, there is an item called vadam, which is a chip made of an extruded rice/sago base.

There are many other products which might be called "crisps" in Britain, but would not be classed as "potato chips" because they aren't made with potato and/or aren't chipped (for example, Wotsits, Quavers, Skips, Hula Hoops and Monster Munch).

Kettle-style chips (known as hand-cooked in the UK/Europe) are traditionally made by the "batch-style" process, where all chips are fried all at once at a low temperature profile, and continuously raked to prevent them from sticking together. There has been some development recently where kettle-style chips are able to be produced by a "continuous-style" process (like a long conveyor belt), creating the same old-fashioned texture and flavor of a real kettle-cooked chip.

Non-potato based chips also exist. Kumara (sweet potato) chips are eaten in Korea, New Zealand and Japan; parsnip, beetroot and carrot crisps are available in the United Kingdom. India is famous for a large number of localized 'chips shops', selling not only potato chips but also other varieties such as plantain chips, tapioca chips, yam chips and even carrot chips. Plantain chips, also known as chifles or tostones, are also sold in the Western Hemisphere from Florida to Chile. In the Philippines, banana chips can be found sold at local stores. In Kenya, chips are made even from arrowroot and casava. In the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia, a new variety of Pringles made from rice have been released and marketed as lower in fat than their potato counterparts. Recently, the Australian company Absolute Organic has also released chips made from beetroot.


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  • Banham, Rayner (1977) "The Crisp at the Crossroads", in P. Barker (ed) Arts in Society. London: Fontana.
  • Template:Cite book – Origins of potato chips


External links[]

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