The Humble Potato Chip

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johnw
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The Humble Potato Chip

I had the opportunity to tour the FritoLay plant in Dayville Connecticut this week,of FL’s 34 plants it’s the fifth largest operated by FL and employs over eight hundred people.....They shipped over 153 millions pounds of product last year,in 43 million packages ......They purchase a lot of potatoes from Maine in season....
the plant is an engineering marvel......Rube Goldberg in the intracacies of its design and the movement of raw material to packaged and shipped goods.The plant contains a warehouse that is seven stories high and manned by robotic lifts.....six miles of conveyors that carry packages that are filled order specific for your local store and then shipped direct....There is much much more..It is amazing ,as I stood their marveling at the imagination, thought ,planning ,construction and execution of this factory dedicated to the production of ,yes Doritos,Tostito, Fritos...and the humble potato chip........I was filed with a sense of the ingenituy ,imagination,originality and skill of American industry...............and ironically was remindedof the words of. Obama.....”you didn’t build that”..”Wow.......

Ugenetoo
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Beyond that, most of the

Beyond that, it's interesting to note that most of the potato varieties used at that plant have been bred by Frito-Lay themselves.
Back when I started driving truck, one of the varieties was simply called 657, as in that was the 657th variety they had done long term testing on.
I happened to stop at one of the grower's shed the other day and the variety number they were loading was up around twenty-two hundred.
These varieties are bred for their ability to be stored at temps lower than 50 degrees and still give a good bright fry color, because, potatoes that are stored cold have their starches turn to sugar and, of course, when sugar is fried, it turns black.
These varieties also are bred for high specific gravity which means there is less water to boil off in the frying process, which also has the effect of lowering the cooking oil usage.
They also need to meet grower demands for yield, storability, and harvest-ability without nicks and cuts, which quite often is a side affect of high gravity.
Many of these varieties make really good flavored chips, but are very poor cooked by other means.
One variety, the 657, was "released" from Frito's stable of chipstock potatoes due to it's widespread usage in all culinary categories and is now known as the Norwiss.
In 1975,(I think it was) I hauled the third load delivered into the, at the time, new plant down in Kirkwood, NY, near Binghampton.

johnw
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Ugeneto,they talked about

Ugeneto,they talked about that aspect as well.....

taxfoe
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It's all very fascinating

It's all very fascinating when you think about it. One more dimension, for example: I picked up a truckload of lab produced, potato seed in Boise, ID, and delivered it to a grower in WI whose entire production was in service to Frito Lay. Two or three hundred jobs all in the name of potato chips and I never set foot on a Frito property.

Trader Joe's is out with a turkey and stuffing flavored potato chip, for anyone who hasn't firmed up their Thanksgiving plans.

Ugenetoo
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How were they growing those

How were they growing those tubers?
Soil, hydroponics, or aeroponics?

Bruce Libby
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IMO Ther has never been a

IMO There has never been a chip that beat one from Lewiston, "Gastonquays'" (sp) . a mom am\d pop operation delivered to local stores from trunk of their car.
Since then I stick with Fritos.

Matt
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Fox Family makes a great chip

Fox Family makes a great chip.

johnw
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Like so many things we take

Like so many things we take for granted that magically appear on the store shelves.....the process that goes on to make that happen is a mystery to most......American ingenuity and know how have revolutionized the world.....and the way we live.
It's something to be proud of.

PressMan247
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Was always a big fan of

Was always a big fan of Humpty Dumpty cheese and onion flavor growing up.
Are they still in business?

Ugenetoo
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As I recall, they are now in

As I recall, they are now in New Brunswick, owned by Irving.

johnw
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Humpty is still in business..

Humpty is still in business......their barbecue flavored chip has been there big seller for many years.

Ugenetoo
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Yup.

Yup.
I did a little digging and found that Humty was bought at auction in 2000 by a small company in Hartland NB (publicly traded, not an Irving entity) called Small Fry.
The New Brunswick and PEI governments ponied up $3.5M to help them become viable again.
http://www.gnb.ca/cnb/news/bnb/2000e1078ie.htm
Too bad the Maine government didn't do some of that instead of just creating more economic development industry jobs.
BTW, Humty is now owned by a Midwest company, Old Dutch Foods.
More than likely the chips in Maine come from the plant in Hartland.
I remember seeing Humty Dumpty plants in Presque Isle and Scarborough as a kid.

Bruce Libby
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Given needs at old factory

Given needs at old factory and value of real estate escalated beyond value of business to original owners.
They were one of the first businesses on that section of RT.1 corrider.

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