Best Potato Chip I Ever Had

October 11, 2010

A few weeks ago, I was invited to tour the Frito Lay plant in Killingly, CT (full discolsure: I am a media spokesperson for Frito Lay). It was the first time I had ever seen how chips were made, and it was quite an experience. If you’ve ever looked at the back of the bag of Lay’s Classic Potato Chips or Tostitos Corn Chips you would see that there are only 3 simple ingredients in these chips: Potatoes or corn, vegetable oil (corn, sunflower, canola, or soybean oil), and salt. Whether you believe this or not, I can tell you with 100% certainty that is all there is — there are no other ingredients in these chips, just these 3 natural ones.

Here are some other interesting facts I learned and saw with my own eyes:

  • The potatoes come from local farms and are used within 24 hours.
  • There are 3 registered dietitians on staff and they work with chefs in the culinary center to help make healthier products using natural ingredients.
  • A 10 ounce bag of Lay’s Original Potato Chips is made using 4.5 medium potatoes, 7 teaspoons oil, and 0.7 teaspoon salt.
  • In 2003, Frito Lay was the first major food company to remove trans fats from their snacks.

Here are some cool pictures from the tour:

Frito Lay potato chip tour
Unloading potatoes at the plant
Frito Lay potato chips
Potato chips hot off the press – the best I’ve ever had!
Frito Lay corn chips
The ingredients used to make corn chips; the roller is used to cut out corn chips in the right size and shape

Frito Lay has worked hard (and continues) to make healthier snack products, and they want consumers and health professionals to be educated about their products. They have created many websites for this purpose, including:

Check them out — maybe you’ll learn something new about snack foods!

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    1. As a registered dietitian and foodie, I believe all foods fit in moderation (you’ll see this concept time and again on my blog). A one ounce serving of Lay’s Classic potato chips has 150 calories, which is comparable to many other snack foods. Since the ingredients are all natural and contain healthy oils, the chips provide more nutritional benefits, such as vitamins C and E and potassium, than other snacks, and when paired with a fruit, veggie, or low-fat dairy based dip they are a great way to get in more nutrients. As for how many servings per week, I recommend people have a variety of snacks, so while there is nothing wrong with having one ounce of chips per day, I suggest mixing things up and making Frito Lay’s chips one of the many snacks consumed over the course of a week.