Tag Archives: crisps

COP 17 – It’s Underway And …..

I had thought I would follow what was happening at Durban online and find some interesting stuff on which to base a post. However, the amount of information is stunning. I downloaded an iPad app which pulls together all the information and found things like a 170 page report on emissions down to the level of dairy cow methane emissions on a country basis. But finding something relevant and interesting is more difficult. Things like President Zuma’s week address ( not like the determined political heros he opened with) and Canada’s threat to resign from Kyoto are in the news and don’t bear repeating here.  

click the image to visit the website 

So I thought this image of a web page might be more interesting. Walkers is a leading United Kingdom (UK) manufacturer of potato crisps retained the Carbon Trust to determine the carbon footprint of their crisps. Carbon Trust is a not for profit organisation set up by the UK government to “led on lows carbon technologies” who claim to save the UK £ 1 million a day.  

They found that a 34,5 g packet of crisps produced 85 g of carbon dioxide. In comparison I found, for a post on bread buying behaviors in France, that a standard baguette produces 292 g of carbon dioxide. A bottle of cola has a carbon footprint of 340 g of carbon dioxide. 

The pictures along the righthand side of the page represent the operations for which the footprint was calculated. Like most foods the footprint for the growing of the raw materials used, is a major part of the footprint in this case 36%. The most obvious excessive cost is packaging which makes up 34% of the co st and is normally significantly lower. The analysis indicates that there is no emission in the household. Many foods have high emissions in the household arising from cold storage and cooking costs as well as the effect of food which is inevitably wasted. 

The effect of food waste on the carbon footprint is an issue that was previously not considered, but which it is now realised is very important. There seems to be a consensus that at least one third of the food produced is not eaten. This is accepted both in affluent societies where the loss is mainly in processing and the household and in developing/subsistence communities where it is mainly in storage and post harvest handling. The carbon footprint of the of the food lost is effectively added directly to the carbon footprint calculated for the food without considering losses.  

Not only is the food lost, but all the inputs to produce the food is lost and must be reflected in the footprint. 

Consumers Design Chip/Crisp Flavour

I bought this interesting packet of potato chips (crisps to others) a few days ago as I was interested to see the face of a white housewife seemingly advertising chips on the supermarket shelf.


photo by Dave Harcourt
(Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License)


However it turns out to be something quite different which seems to me to be an interesting take on product design.

Simba have set up a competition allowing consumers to design their own flavours and submit these for consideration. The competition brought in 180 000 suggestions which were reduced to 20 and eventually the 4 winners now appearing online ready for your vote.

Simba What_s Your Lekker Flavour - Home.jpg

(click the image to open website)

There was also competition on the supplier side with flavour houses being challenged to come up with flaours for the new products.

The winner will receive R 200 000 and 1% of all sales of the product for its life. The public voting for their preferred flavour can win weekly prizes of R 500 and two prizes from the final draw of R 50 000.

What do I think about it? – a brilliant marketing and product definition exercise but unfortunately although the Look up and Run Chicken had a new and interesting flavour, any taste of snoek or achaar were missing from Brendan Johnston’s chip!

By the way Walkie Talkie in this case refers to chicken heads and feet! which are also called Look Up and Runs. So a nice South African feel to the competition!

It will be interesting to see how it develops from here. Let me know what you think of this and watch this blog or subscribe to the RSS feed to hear how this develops.


Crispy Banana Snacks

Its only coincidence that this comes after I start posting about drying! What caught my eye was the high value add obtained for this product which is after all widely available in tropical africa in a somewhat less attractive format.


New Food Products | Crispy Bananas Debut in the Snack Aisle | Food Processing.jpg

from: Food Processing
(click image for full story online)


The product is described as “kosher-certified, all-natural snacks that are dairy-and gluten-free and contain no added sugar, preservatives, colors, flavors, fat or cholesterol”. Each 15g pack contain about a banana and contains 2g fibre and mainly carbohydrate.

The interesting point is the selling price which is US$ 1.50 a pack, probably a result of expensive freeze drying technology and a costly pack but also linked to the multiple product quality claims.


Crisps Carbon Footprint

Going back a bit to the environmental issues in food processing. Walker crisps in the UK was the first company to do detail work on one of its products.


Walkers - calculating our emissions.jpg

from: Walkers Crisps
(click image for full story online)


The illustration indicates that the carbon footprint is calculated up to the point where the packet of crisps is on the supermarket shelf.

The carbon footprint determined in 2007 was 85 g C02. Walkers have achieved a 7% reduction in this to 80 g by:

• Switching to 100% British potatoes to lower food miles
• Training drivers to drive in the most fuel efficient way
• Running our delivery trucks on biodiesel containing 5% used
cooking oil
• Reducing gas and electricity consumption by:
– Improving production line efficiencies
– Introducing new technology – such as low energy lighting
– Educating front-line employees to be more energy-aware
• Reducing the weight of packaging

Why is this of interest to you a food processor who’s clients couldn’t care less? Carbon footprint is almost directly linked to energy which you pay for either directly or indirectly – so reducing your footprint saves cost!

Interesting that even in a process with lots of energy for frying, processing is a small input while farming and packaging represent about two thirds of the footprint.