What’s in a bite? – The journey of The Perfect Potato Chip
With retail shelves overflowing with potato chips to suit all tastes, now is the time to strive for perfection! Achieving the perfect bite is crucial to stand out from the competition and keep consumers coming back for more. But what does perfection look like for a potato chip and how can manufacturers reach these dizzying heights?
So, what is the perfect bite?
Perfection comes in many forms – and this idea holds true for the popular potato chip. The perfect bite involves more than just the act of eating. It is a multi-sensory eating experience to ensure consumer satisfaction. It goes beyond taste to include texture, aroma and appearance of the end product – taking into account all the senses that come into play for that multi-sensory experience.
And although perfection is subjective, there are certain characteristics that define the perfect potato chip. Consumers enjoy fresh-tasting products, without any noticeable grease or oil. This is increasingly evident with the wave of health-conscious consumers looking for snacks that support their overall health and well-being, while still scoring on taste and texture. It is also the reason for widespread interest in lightly coloured potato chips, rather than browned. Consistently light-coloured products are often perceived as being healthier and more ‘natural’ – an important characteristic for today’s discerning consumer. Finally, with the latest trends for bold, strong flavours, people want evenly applied seasoning, to ensure full coverage and flavour dispersion – adding to the high-quality, premium effect.
7 steps for creating perfect potato chips
Whatever consumers interpretation of the perfect bite, the process to get there can be complex. Here are seven steps to achieve potato chip nirvana, according to our experts:
Handling & preparation
Innovative pre-processing and processing techniques can help deliver the texture, appearance and quality that contribute to the perfect bite. Hot washing and pulsed electric field (PEF) technology, for example, are increasingly replacing blanching as the method of choice for reducing sugar levels in raw materials – helping to create a crispy, dry texture.
The type of frying you choose can make or break consumer appeal. Whether it’s batch frying for the ‘glassy’ and hard texture associated with premium ‘kettle’-style chips, or an atmospheric continuous frying process for lighter, more aerated products, it’s a crucial part of the process.
Seasoning & spraying
Don’t let uneven seasoning coverage and flavour dispersion deter consumers from enjoying the perfect bite. Using an on-machine seasoning (OMS) system, featuring responsive variable mass controls alongside a dynamic vibratory weigher, allows for accurate flavour and oil application.
There’s nothing worse than opening a packet of chips and finding they are crushed or broken. Investing in the right distribution system, such as horizontal motion conveyors, ensures fragile potato chip products are transported quickly, yet gently from one stage of the process to the next, with minimal breakages and flavour loss.
Keeping potato chips as fresh as possible is down to the quality and integrity of the packaging seal. Innovation in the type of jaws used in packaging equipment is making a huge difference to consumers’ enjoyment of end products.
Weighing & metal detection
Today’s weighing equipment helps operators keep up to speed – literally – with packaging lines, with minimal product damage. Plus, advances in metal detection are eliminating the risk of contamination to make sure there aren’t any nasty surprises that could ruin consumers’ eating experience.
Controls & integration
Product quality can really interfere with brand loyalty. Ensuring the right control system and integration solutions are in place is a reliable and efficient way to achieve greater levels of transparency, which can then be passed on to consumers.
Making perfection a reality
There are many factors for potato chip manufacturers to consider when it comes to achieving the perfect bite. In the same way that perfection is more than just taste or texture, working with the right partner is more than just food processing equipment; it is the access to trend insights that will keep consumers coming back for more, as well as the expert knowledge of every aspect of the production line to anticipate any issues and offer solutions. Ultimately, choosing the right supplier and investing in end-to-end solutions enables an initial idea to be transformed into a complete eating experience for consumers – whatever their interpretation of the perfect bite.
At tna, we provide the knowledge and expertise to help you choose the right end-to-end solutions to make achieving the perfect bite a reality. For more information contact: [email protected]