Crunch!: A History of the Great American Potato Chip (Paperback)

Crunch!: A History of the Great American Potato Chip By Dirk Burhans Cover Image

Crunch!: A History of the Great American Potato Chip (Paperback)

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The potato chip has been one of America's favorite snacks since its accidental origin in a nineteenth-century kitchen. Crunch! A 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, county fairs, and cafes to the mass marketing and corporate consolidation of the modern snack food industry.

Crunch! 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 both new 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.

Dirk Burhans grew up in the heart of traditional potato chip country in eastern Ohio. He is a past publisher of the magazine Burger Boy and writes for magazines about potato chips, soda pop, and hamburger chains. He lives in Idaho.
Product Details ISBN: 9780299227746
ISBN-10: 029922774X
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication Date: October 24th, 2017
Pages: 232
Language: English
"Presents the pioneers, the corporate take-overs, and the antitrust concerns that followed the Frito-Lay merger. Interviews, illustrations, and solid sources make this book a meal, not a snack." —Foreword Reviews

"Crunch! is the appealing tale of how the pedestrian potato was transformed into America's favorite snack food. It is complete with battles over regional brands, national marketers, and endearing hometown favorites. Dirk Burhans has served up a filling analysis of why Americans are crunching chips morning, noon, and night."—Margaret Engel, coauthor (with Allison Engel) of Food Finds: America's Best Local Foods and the People Who Produce Them

"Crunch! is the appealing tale of how the pedestrian potato was transformed into America's favorite snack food. It is complete with battles over regional brands, national marketers, and endearing hometown favorites."— Margaret Engel, coauthor (with Allison Engel) of Food Finds: America's Best Local Foods and the People Who Produce Them