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All about chips

This world famous product is mainly made from potatoes. However, chips can also be made from vegetables (cassava, sweet potatoes, beets, cabbage, etc.) or fruits (apples, bananas, durians, etc). The following facts testify to how popular this product is all over the world.

  • Sweet potato chips are eaten in Korea, New Zealand and Japan.
  • Parsnip, beetroot and carrot chips are available in the United Kingdom.
  • India is known for its large number of localized "chip shops" selling not only potato chips but other varieties such as plantain chips, tapioca chips, sweet potato chips and even carrot chips.
  • Plantain chips, also known as chifles or tostons, are also sold in the Western Hemisphere from Canada to Chile.
  • In the Philippines, banana chips are sold in local shops.
  • In Kenya, chips are made from arrowroot and cassava.
  • In the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland and Australia, a new variety of Pringles chips has been released, made from rice that is sold with less fat than its potato counterparts.

In this article, we will talk about potato chips. Hereinafter, by the word "chips" we mean exactly potato chips.

Chips became very popular all over the world in the second half of the 20th century. Now chips make up a large part of the snack market in many countries around the world, especially in Western Europe and the United States.


The history of chips

It is believed that the chips were accidentally invented by George Krum on August 24, 1853, while working as the chef of the expensive restaurant Moon's Lake House in a resort in the southern part of the lake near the town of Saratoga Springs, New York, USA.

According to legend, one of Moon's Lake House's signature recipes was French fries. At dinner one day, railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt brought the fried potatoes back into the kitchen, complaining that they were "too fat." The chef, Krum, deciding to play a trick on the tycoon, cut the potatoes literally paper-thin and fried. But the magnate and his friends liked the dish.

The recipe was nicknamed "Chips Saratoga" (from English "chips" – "slice, piece", Saratoga – the city of the restaurant). After a while, the chips became the most popular specialty of this restaurant. By the way, the Saratoga Chips trademark still exists.

In 1860, George Crum opened his own restaurant, with a basket of chips on every table. The restaurant quickly became a fashionable place among wealthy Americans visiting the resort. Krum did not sell takeaway chips, but the simplicity of the recipe soon made the chips available in most other restaurants.

In 1895, William Tappendon begins "small-scale production" of chips, first in his own kitchen, later building a factory. Deliveries are made in Cleveland, Ohio.

In the 20th century, potato chips moved beyond restaurant dishes and began to be mass-produced for home consumption. Mikesell's Potato Chip Company of Dayton, Ohio, founded in 1910, is believed to be the oldest potato chip company in the United States still in existence.

At first, potato chips were packed in barrels or cans were delivered by horses to stores, which left the chips stale and crumbled. In the 1920s, Laura Scudder, an entrepreneur in Monterey Park, California, suggested the use of wax paper for packaging. This innovative method reduced crumbling and kept chips fresh and crisp longer. This innovation, along with the invention of cellophane, allowed potato chips to become a mass-market product.

In 1932, Herman Lay establishes the Lay's brand in Nashville, Tennessee, which became the first national brand of chips to survive to this day and gain worldwide popularity.

All about chips


How chips are made

There are 2 basic recipes for chips.

  1. Method 1 (classic). For the preparation of chips, potato varieties with a high starch content are used. Potatoes are cut into thin slices and fried in vegetable oil for 3 minutes. In the USA, they prefer to use soybean oil, in Europe – palm oil, and in Russia – sunflower oil. With a suitable shredding board, this can easily be done in a conventional kitchen.
  2. Method 2 (alternative). Often in machine production, a completely different recipe is used. Dough is made from potato flour, and the form of chips is made from dough, which are then fried.

Often salt, flavorings (natural or synthetic) and flavor enhancers (monosodium glutamate) are added to the chips.

See the video at the end of the article for how potato chips are made in factories using each of the above methods.

All about chips


What are the health benefits of chips?

To the great regret of chips lovers, this delicacy is harmful to health. Therefore, it is recommended not to consume chips in large quantities. Below are the top 3 health hazards.



Most potato chips are high in sodium due to the salt. This can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure.

In this regard, the longtime British brand Salt 'n' Shake began to produce unsalted chips. These chips are not seasoned with salt, but instead include a small packet of salt for seasoning to taste. Many other popular brands in the US such as Frito-Lay also offer this product.

Of note, researchers at Queen Mary University of London in 2004 noted that a small package of pre-made salty chips contains less salt than a serving of many breakfast cereals, including all brands of corn flakes sold in the UK.



Another health hazard associated with potato chips is acrylamide, which is formed when potatoes are fried at high temperatures. This discovery, made in 2002, caused worldwide concern. Acrylamide is a toxic substance that mainly affects the nervous system, liver and kidneys. According to animal studies, acrylamide can provoke the development of cancer.

However, subsequent studies have shown that acrylamides in burnt or well-done foods are unlikely to cause cancer in humans. The world's largest independent cancer research organization in the UK, Cancer Research UK, classifies the idea that burnt food causes cancer as a "myth".

However, in August 2008, some major US potato chip manufacturers were forced to pay fines because they were unable to document that their chips did not contain high levels of acrylamide, which has been considered a carcinogen in California since the 1990s.

Since then, many potato chip manufacturers have attempted to remove burnt-on and therefore potentially acrylamide-rich chips prior to the packaging process.



Chips also contain trans fats (trans isomers of fatty acids), which disrupt human immunity, increase the risk of developing diabetes, cancer, reduce the amount of testosterone, disrupt the metabolism of prostaglandins (regulating many processes in the body and found in almost all tissues and organs), disrupt the work of the main an enzyme that neutralizes carcinogenic and some medicinal toxins.

According to the results of 14 years of observations by British scientists published in the British Medical Journal (number 11, 1998), mortality from coronary heart disease and the number of myocardial infarctions among lovers of foods containing trans fatty acids is much higher, and breast cancer occurs by 40 % more often.

All about chips
All about chips


Interesting facts about chips

  • In order to make 1 kilogram of chips, you need to process about 4 kilograms of potatoes.
  • The chips are packaged in plastic bags that are injected with nitrogen gas prior to sealing to extend shelf life and protect against crushing.
  • According to sociological studies, in Europe and the USA, approximately 95% of people snack on chips when they feel a slight feeling of hunger, most often between lunch and dinner. In addition, many use chips: when watching TV – 57%, on the road – 41%, while reading a book – 34%, when in a bad mood – 30%, when there is nothing to do – 27%.
  • A record number of potato chips are sold annually in the US. The average American eats about 3 kilograms of chips a year, and 11% of all potatoes grown in the country are used to make them.
  • There is National Potato Chip Day in the USA. It is celebrated on March 14th. On this day, millions of people across the country enjoy this crunchy snack.
  • Research by PepsiCo shows that about 80% of the salt in chips is not felt by the tongue before they are swallowed. Frito-Lay spent $2009 million in product development in 414, including the development of salt crystals that would reduce the salt content of Lay's potato chips without sacrificing flavor.
All about chips


The Success Story of Frito-Lay

Finally, we want to tell the success story of one American company, which, of course, is connected with chips.

  • In 1932, 28-year-old Charles Elmer Doolin of San Antonio, Texas, purchased the business from a local corn chip manufacturer for $100 he had borrowed from his mother. With the help of his parents and brother, he started making corn chips in his mother's kitchen and selling them from the garage for 5 cents a pack. By the time of Doolin's death in 1959, The Frito Company already had factories in 18 cities.
  • In 1931 Herman Lay started selling potato chips from his car. In 1939, he already founded HW Lay & Company in Atlanta (USA, Georgia). And by 1956, this company had factories in 8 cities.

In 1961, the above two companies merged to form Frito-Lay, and in 1965 Frito-Lay and The Pepsi-Cola Company formed PepsiCo.

Thus, Frito-Lay became a successful American subsidiary of food products (corn chips, potato chips, etc.), which is part of the PepsiCo holding.

The main brands made by Frito-Lay these days are Fritos corn chips, Cheetos cheese sticks, Doritos and Tostitos tortilla chips, Lay's, Ruffle and Walkers potato chips, and Rold Gold pretzels. In 2009, each brand's annual sales worldwide exceeded $1 billion!


The classic way to make potato chips

In the video player, you can turn on subtitles and select their translation into any language in the settings
In the video player, you can turn on subtitles and select their translation into any language in the settings


Alternative way to make potato chips

In the video player, you can turn on subtitles and select their translation into any language in the settings