potato chip has been one of America’s favorite snacks since
its accidental origin in a nineteenth-century kitchen.
History of the Great American Potato Chip
tells the story of this crispy, salty treat, from the early sales of
locally made chips at corner groceries to the
mass marketing and corporate consolidation.
also uncovers a dark side of potato chip history, including a federal
investigation of the snack food industry in the 1990s following
widespread allegations of antitrust activity, illegal buyouts, and
predatory pricing. In the wake of these “Great Potato Chip
Wars,” corporate snack divisions closed and dozens of
family-owned companies went bankrupt. Yet, despite consolidation, many
small chippers persist into the twenty-first century, as mom-and-pop
companies and upstart “boutique” businesses serve
consumers and markets with strong regional loyalties.
Illustrated with images of early snack food paraphernalia and clever
packaging from the glory days of American advertising art, Crunch!
is an informative tour of large and small business in America and the
vicissitudes of popular tastes.
A History of the Great American Potato Chip
by Dirk Burhans
University of Wisconsin Press,