Are Pringles Chips or Crisps?
To muddy the Chips or Crisps debate further, Proctor & Gamble invented and developed the ‘Pringle’ in the late 1950s to mid 1960s.
The plan was to come up with a snack to compete against ‘greasy and broken Potato Chips’.
Their attempt to conquer the Potato Chip world was assigned to chemist Fredric Baur in 1956. He developed the hyperbolic paraboloid (saddle) shape that we still see today. After Baur was promoted to another department Alexander Liepa was introduced to complete the work.
And what of that work?
Well, the resulting product was a foodstuff made from 42% potato, some corn flour, wheat starch, rice flour, a bit of fat, some emulsifiers and what not. In some respects it could possibly be described as a re-purposed or re-constituted snack food.
They were christened, “Pringles Newfangled Potato Chips.” Instead of setting alarm bells off the public embraced the idea and especially loved the can, which has gone on to become an iconic symbol of the snack food world.
The new product did well. So well in fact that Potato Chips manufacturers claimed that Pringles failed to meet the definition of a Potato Chip. The US Food and Drug Administration agreed and in 1975, ruled that use of the word would be restricted to “Potato Chips made from dried potatoes”.
What happened next was P&G came up with the brilliant idea of putting worms in their fancy can. Actually they didn’t, but they did move from one proverbial can of worms to another.
They called them Crisps!
The manufacturers claimed they were not Potato Crisps! They used the argument that they were more like a cake or a biscuit because they were manufactured from dough.
Mr Justice Warren ruled that to be subject to VAT the product must be, “Wholly, or substantially wholly, made from the potato”.
The UK government were not particularly bothered what they were called, just whether they could rake taxes in from them. And they couldn’t any longer.
Pringles are not Potato Chips.
Pringles are not Potato Crisps.
Pringles are what it says in the nutritional information box on the can.