Potato chips are now snacking’s long-standing king. It’s doubtful that they’ve been absent from a single party in the last century! When you look at them from a historical perspective, it becomes apparent how obsessed the world is with potato chips. The world has changed for a century, but potato chips have barely changed at all.
Potato chips are an institution. These 8 brands represent the oldest branches of that empire, stretching back over 100 years to define comfort food the world over.
8. Wise Foods, Inc.
Location: Berwick, Pennsylvania
Known for: Cheez Doodles
photo source: Wise Snacks
Wise Foods, Inc. was founded 100 years ago as of 2021 in Berwick, Pennsylvania. They now have snack retailers in 15 eastern U.S. states and territories, including Vermont and Washington D.C. They are famous for their potato chips but also their cheez Doodles, popcorn snacks, and pork rinds. They were bought by Arca Continental in 2021, making Wise Foods, Inc. technically a Mexican snack food company now.
Earl Wise founded Wise Foods as a potato chip company. He got the idea by working in Wise Delicatessen and seeing how many potatoes went to waste. He began frying them and selling them to customers by the bag instead of throwing them away.
The company was acquired in 1964 by Borden, the milk company, and has since changed hands several times.
Did you know?
The potatoes sold by Wise from his parents’ restaurant were greasy and left ugly spots on the bags. This led to the invention of waxed paper bags for food transport.
7. Utz Brands, Inc.
Location: Hanover, Pennsylvania
Known for: Acquiring other companies
photo source: Utz Snacks
This won’t be the last time you see Hanover, Pennsylvania on this list. Sleepy Hanover is famous for being a hub of corporate innovation when it comes to snack foods, housing several potato chip company headquarters, including Utz Brands, Inc.
Founded in 1921 and named Hanover Home Brand Potato Chips, Utz was initially worth around $300. The couple William and Salie Utz cranked potatoes out by hand, frying, salting, and delivering them to local grocery stores in Hanover and Baltimore.
Post-WWII, the company expanded into more production facilities. Since the 1980s, it has grown by 20% annually and now acquires rival snack food companies to increase its holdings even more.
Did you know?
Utz Brands acquired Inventure Foods, Snyder of Berlin (more on that later), and Vitner’s. They are now a publicly traded company after merging with Collier Creek Holdings.
6. The Smith’s Snackfood Company
Location: Cricklewood, London
Known for: Australian branches
photo source: Flickr
The Smith’s Snackfood Company has been known for its chips for over 100 years. They were founded in Cricklewood in London, England and opened their second branch in Australia in 1932. They are currently owned by PepsiCo. and even operate their own vending machines company called Smith’s Snackvend Stand.
The original product was a salty twist of dough sold in paper bags in London. They expanded during the depression to Australia, helped along by increases in technology despite the dire economic conditions. Even though Australians say “chips” like Americans do, Smith’s labeled their snacks as “crisps,” the British term, until 2003. They’re now chips for everyone.
Did you know?
In the 1980s, The Smith’s Snackfood Company tried to coattail on the success of childlike alien visitors in TV and film like E.T. and Alf and debuted a new mascot. His name was Gobbledok. He had a human-like face with a feline nose, pointed ears, a furry reddish-brown body, and a hankering for (what else?) Smith’s potato crisps.
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Known for: The loop pretzel
photo source: Flickr
Angelo Grippo began producing snacks in 1919 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His company first operated from a one-room office in the city’s downtown, becoming famous for its pretzels, which were sold for a penny apiece in Cincinnati retailers. Grippo’s is credited with inventing the loop pretzel to prevent them from breaking as much, as well as the looping machines popularly used to make braided and twisted pretzels.
In 1959, Grippo’s began manufacturing potato chips, including Bar-B-Q chips, salt and vinegar chips, and sweet onion chips.
Did you know?
Grippo’s originally began life as a manufacturer of rolled sugar cones for ice cream. They used their experience rolling and dusting cones and converted their system into a potato chip cooking and flavoring process. They are now famous for their Bar-B-Que potato chips.
4. Mikesell’s Potato Chip Company
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Known for: Being the oldest continuously operating potato chip manufacturer
photo source: Mikesell’s
Mikesell’s Potato Chip Company cannot claim the top spot as the oldest potato chip brand. However, as a continuously operating private enterprise, it has a lot to be proud of. Where other brands have closed, temporarily or permanently, Mikesell’s has stuck it out for over a century of continuous operation.
It was founded in Dayton, Ohio in 1910 and retails its snacks in Ohio as well as Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. Daniel W. Mikesell was originally a dried sausage producer. He changed gears to potato chips when he started marketing “Saratoga Chips” through his company. In 1925, the Mikesell’s name and modern brand identity were finalized.
Did you know?
Saratoga Chips are a famous legend among snack food historians. The story goes that in 1853, a picky diner, railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, visited Moon’s Lake House where he ordered potatoes. Deeming them thick and greasy, he sent them back and asked for them to be fried thinner. At this point, the chef, George Crum, was so fed up with the request that he sliced them as thinly as possible and fried them as dark as possible, accidentally inventing the potato chip.
This story has been widely retold as the origins of the potato chip. However, in his lifetime, Crum was never acknowledged for this feat, despite the popularity of potato chips. It is now suspected that his sister may have done the deed instead. Vanderbilt’s biographer also insists that he could not have been that diner.
3. Snyder’s of Hanover
Location: Hanover, Pennsylvania
Known for: Pretzels
photo source: Snyder’s of Hanover
Snyder’s of Hanover is a bakery in Pennsylvania known for its snack food since 1909. They have specialized in pretzels for over a century and remain one of the nation’s largest snack producers, taking in a yearly revenue of $652 million. It now sells its products in the U.S., Canada, Asia, the Middle East, and Central Europe.
In 1950, Snyder’s was reformed into two new entities: Snyder’s of Berlin and Snyder’s of Hanover. The Hanover branch is no longer associated with the Berlin one as the company was purchased and turned into Hanover Foods and again converted into an independent company in the early 1980s.
Did you know?
Jays Foods, another old snack food brand founded in 1927, declared bankruptcy in 2007 and was bought by Snyder’s of Hanover. Snyder’s now distributes Jay’s entire line of potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn snacks throughout the Midwest.
2. Tri-Sum Potato Chips
Location: Leominster, Massachusetts
Known for: America’s oldest potato chip manufacturer
photo source: Tri-Sum
Tri-Sum Potato Chips is a New England staple, founded in Leominster, Massachusetts as the aptly named, Leominster Potato Chip Company in 1908. J.P. Duchesneau was hand-cooking potato chips and delivering them to homes by carriage at this time, an idea that took root as an establishment that has endured for over a century.
The 1930s saw a change of management when Duchesneau’s sons took over and changed the name to Tri-Sum. The company began expanding and remains a 4-generation institution of this famous family, who continues to produce fan-favorite chips.
Did you know?
The 1990s was a height of competition for snack food companies like Tri-Sum Potato Chips. New England alone housed over 80 local snack companies all vying for the same potato chip-munching audience. As a result, staples like Boyd’s and Blackstone closed forever. But Tri-Sum went the distance.
1. KP Snacks
Location: Slough, UK
Known for: World-famous nuts
photo source: KP Snacks
The oldest potato chip brand is KP Snacks. Founded in Slough in the UK in 1853, they are now 168 years old and still going strong. They are a German-owned company but produce snacks in Britain that are made from nuts, potatoes, and corn, including chips or “crisps.”
Originally, KP Snacks was a confectionary company, specializing in pickles and jam. In the 50s, they were a common sight at cinemas in the form of a salted, roasted hazelnut snack. In fact, they are the largest purchaser of nuts on earth. They buy them through sustainability projects in Central and South America, Asia, and Africa.
Did you know?
Slough is a town in Berkshire, England, West of Central London in the Thames Valley, partway between the rural outlying areas and the London metro. Not only is it the location of the headquarters of KP Snacks, but TV fans should recognize it as the location of the sales office of the paper company in the British version of The Office. When the office moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania for the American version, they wrote its address as “Slough Avenue.”
The oldest potato chip brands are global institutions because people have never stopped snacking, not for over 100 years. The appeal of their salty, crunchy goodness shows no signs of slowing as companies rise and fall in pursuit of potato glory, to be bought out by the companies that have been going at it since before the world went to war.
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What are the oldest potato chip companies? ›
The Dayton, Ohio-based Mike-sell's Potato Chip Company, founded in 1910, identifies as the “oldest potato chip company in the United States”. New England-based Tri-Sum Potato Chips, founded in 1908 as the Leominster Potato Chip Company, in Leominster, Massachusetts claim to be America's first potato chip manufacturer.Who is the oldest potato chip manufacturer? ›
The Dayton, Ohio-based Mikesell's Potato Chip Company, founded in 1910, identifies as the "oldest potato chip company in the United States".What is the oldest chip company in the world? ›
The oldest potato chip brand is KP Snacks.
Founded in Slough in the UK in 1853, they are now 168 years old and still going strong. They are a German-owned company but produce snacks in Britain that are made from nuts, potatoes, and corn, including chips or “crisps.”
Joseph “Spud” Murphy owned the Tayto potato chip company in Dublin, Ireland and in 1954 he asked one of his employees to experiment with inventing a way to flavor potato chips.What is the number 1 selling potato chip? ›
With that said, it's safe to say that Lay's is the best-selling potato chip brand in the world.
Lay's was the leading potato chip brand of the United States with about 3.6 billion U.S. dollars worth of sales in 2021/2022, accounting for approximately 41 percent of the potato chip market that year. Potato chips are one of the subcategories of the retail snacking department.What is the largest potato chip factory in the world? ›
The world's largest Frito factory, Frito Lay's Kern Plant provides the Los Angeles area with potato chips, pretzels, and corn chips.Who is the largest potato chip manufacturer? ›
Leading vendors of potato chips in the United States 2022
In that year, Frito Lay was the leading potato chips vendor in the United States, based on sales of over 3.6 billion U.S. dollars.
On July 4, 1980 two small business owners made their dream of making crunchy, delicious, unique quality potato chips a reality. They set up a small storefront in Hyannis, MA where their chips quickly became a local favorite.Where are the largest chip manufacturers in the world? ›
Number of Operational and Planned Fabs December 4, 2022: 15
The strength of its chip exports is unsurprising as some of the largest chip companies are located in the Republic of Korea (ROK). The country is home to two of the world's three largest memory manufacturers - SK Hynix and Samsung.
Which chip factory burned down? ›
TOKYO (Reuters) -Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics said on Tuesday it would take at least 100 days to get back to normal production at its fire-hit plant, even as the government urged some Taiwanese companies to help with alternative chip production.What was the first bag of chips? ›
1926. Laura Scudder of California began using sealed wax paper bags to package potato chips. Her workers would iron 3 edges of the wax paper together to form a pouch shape, manually package the chips into the bags, and use heat from an iron to seal the top edge shut.What was the first flavor of potato chips? ›
The world's first seasoned potato chips were Cheese and Onion and Salt n' Vinegar. The first two flavors in America, however, were Sour Cream and Onion and Barbecue. On a side note, mint-flavored chips are wildly popular in India.What are the most expensive chips? ›
- Matsutake (a rare form of mushroom)
- Truffle seaweed (a seaweed that taste like truffles)
- Crown Dill — The dill comes from the Bjäre Peninsula in southern Sweden.
- Leksand Onion — Leksand onion, a rare onion in Sweden.
- India Pale Ale Wort — This comes from a malt using beer.
2022 Carolina Reaper Chip
One eye-watering, curse-inducing chip made with the hottest peppers on the planet.
Takis C hips come in flavors that will take you off and make you talk!What is the #1 snack in the US? ›
The most popular snack in the U.S. is cookies. In 2021, 59 percent of respondents who have a snack at least once a week stated that they eat cookies regularly.What is the biggest crisp factory in the world? ›
In 1982 Walkers opened the largest crisp production plant in the world in Leicester. It's the largest crisp production plant in the world, producing over 11 million bags of crisps per day and using about 800 tons of potatoes.Who is the biggest chip maker in the US? ›
1. Intel Corporation (Leading Semiconductor Company in USA) Intel is world leader in silicon innovation develops processor technologies and supports global initiatives.What are the top potato companies? ›
- McCain Foods Limited. ...
- Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. ...
- J.R Simplot Company. ...
- Aviko Holding B.V. ...
- Kraft Heinz Company. ...
- Himalaya Food International Ltd.
What is the biggest potato company? ›
R.D. Offutt Company and affiliates is the largest potato grower in the United States, operating farms in seven states. In excess of 50,000 acres of potatoes are grown annually for the frozen processing and fresh markets.How old are Burger Man chips? ›
A lunchbox staple in the 1990s and 2000s, the chips were discontinued in 2016. The cult favourites consisted of crispy puffed “burger men” sprinkled with savoury burger-flavoured seasoning.How old are hot chips? ›
Hot Chip were formed around 2000 by the duo of Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard, who met as students at Elliott School, Putney.How old are Lays chips? ›
In 1932, Herman W. Lay started a small business in Nashville, Tennessee selling potato chips made by a company in Atlanta, Georgia.What are the major potato chip companies? ›
North America. In the United States, potato chips are made by national chains like Frito-Lay, Pringles and Kettle Brand; major regional brands like Jay's of Chicago, Better Made of Detroit, Old Dutch of Minneapolis, and Utz of Hanover, Pennsylvania; and specialty brands with local or uneven distribution.Are there any chip factories in the US? ›
US-based fabs, or chip manufacturing plants, currently only account for 12% of the world's modern semiconductor manufacturing capacity, according to data from the Semiconductor Industry Association trade group.How many chip manufacturers are there? ›
The group includes 35 semiconductor companies. The largest chipmakers by market cap are Taiwan Semiconductor, Intel and Texas Instruments, in descending order.Is the US building a chip factory? ›
Chipmaker Micron Technology announced today it will spend $20 billion to build what it called the largest ever US semiconductor factory, and it may spend up to $100 billion over 20 years to expand it.How many chip factories are being built in the US? ›
Currently, Intel is building four chip production plants, two in Arizona and two in Ohio, and one advanced packaging facility in New Mexico. Intel broke ground on Fab 52 and Fab 62 in the Ocotillo campus near Chandler, Arizona, in late September 2021, and the construction of those buildings is well underway.Who controls the chip industry? ›
The United States, while strong in many areas of the market, has lost its dominance in manufacturing. Over the last 15 years or so, Taiwan's TSMC and South Korea's Samsung have come to dominate the manufacturing of the world's most advanced semiconductors. Intel , the United States' largest chipmaker, fell far behind.
What state is known for chips? ›
Pennsylvanians' passion for the salty snack is so strong that the state's unofficial nickname is the so-called “Potato Chip Capital of the World.” But more specifically, there is a “beltline” in the southern part of the state where potato chips reign supreme, according to NPR.What is the most popular chip in Texas? ›
The most popular chip in Texas is Takis, a rolled tortilla chip that is the perfect accompaniment to brisket sandwiches.What is the hottest chip brand? ›
- Try the World's Hottest Chip made with the hottest chile pepper on the planet, the Carolina Reaper. ...
- Do you dare take the #OneChipChallenge to earn your place on Paqui's Wall of Infamy?
- Contains No Artificial Ingredients, Flavors or Preservatives.
Fashion house Balenciaga is selling an $1,800 Lay's potato chip bag.What black man invented potato chips? ›
A worldwide favorite snack is the potato chip, which was invented by an African American chef, named George Crum, born George Speck on 1824. He was born in Saratoga Lake, New York. He was the son of an African American father, who was a jockey, and Native American mother, of the Huron Tribe.What is the biggest bag of chips ever? ›
"Largest Bag of Potato Chips".... The bag is 18 feet (5.5 meters) high, and included a mind-boggling 1,141 kilograms (2,513 pounds) of Potato Chips. In September 2013, the record was made by a small Potato Crisps manufacturer in Cambridgeshire, England called Corkers.What are potato chips called in England? ›
Crisps (UK) / Chips (US)
In the UK, the thin round slices of fried potato that come in packets are called crisps, while in the US these are called chips.
Potato chipWhat came first Fritos or Lay's? ›
Crum finally made fries that were too thin to eat with a fork, hoping to annoy the extremely fussy customer. The customer, surprisingly enough, was happy – and potato chips were invented! Crum's chips were originally called Saratoga Chips and potato crunches.
What was the first flavor of chips? ›
The world's first seasoned potato chips were Cheese and Onion and Salt n' Vinegar. The first two flavors in America, however, were Sour Cream and Onion and Barbecue. On a side note, mint-flavored chips are wildly popular in India.Which brand of stacking potato snack was first sold in 1967? ›
Pringles is a brand of potato and wheat based stackable snack chips originally developed by Procter & Gamble (P&G), who first sold the product in 1967. P&G sold the brand to Kellogg in 2012.