Kettle Foods

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Kettle Foods
A bag and bowl of Kettle Foods sea salt and vinegar-flavored potato chips.
Product type Snack foods
Owner Diamond Foods (since 2010)
Country  United States
Introduced 1978 (as N.S. Khalsa Company)
Markets USA, Canada, Europe, Middle East
Previous owners Lion Capital (2006-2010)

Kettle Foods is an international manufacturer of potato chips, tortilla chips, and nut butters based in Salem, Oregon, United States, with a European and Middle East headquarters in Norwich, United Kingdom. As of 2006 they are the largest natural potato chip brand in the U.S.[1] The company, founded in 1978 by Cameron Healy, has been owned by Diamond Foods since 2010.


The company was founded by Cameron Healy in 1978 as the N.S. Khalsa Company; it produced its first potato chips in 1982.[2] In 1988, following a motorcycle trip taken by the company's founder and his son, Kettle Foods established a UK branch in a converted shoe factory in Norwich; the branch moved five years later to a newly built factory on the outskirts of Norwich, its current UK home.[3]

In 2003, the company installed the largest solar array in the Pacific Northwest to use more green energy at their Salem plant.[4][5] In September 2007, the company opened its second US production facility in Beloit, Wisconsin, lured there by $500,000 in state economic development money.[6] Kettle built the first manufacturing plant to be awarded gold certification in the LEED program from the United States Green Building Council.[6]

The company was sold in 2006 to a private equity group, Lion Capital LLP, for $280–320 million.[7]

In October 2007, campaigns were launched on Facebook calling for a boycott of Kettle Foods products[8] following allegations that the company was attempting to dissuade workers at its Norwich factory from joining trade union Unite. The company denies the claim but acknowledged that it has taken advice from Omega Training,[9] a UK subsidiary of U.S. company The Burke Group, specialists in union avoidance.[10]

In August 2008, California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced a settlement with Kettle Foods, the maker of Cape Cod Potato Chips, and Frito-Lay, for violating the state's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act; the state alleged back in 2005 that the potato chips from those companies failed to document that they contained high levels of acrylamide, a carcinogen. Kettle Foods paid $350,000 in civil penalties and costs and agreed to cut their potato chips levels of acrylamide to 275 parts per billion by 2011, an 87% reduction.[11][12]

Lion Capital put Kettle Foods up for sale in December 2009, with an asking price of around US$700 million[7] and in February 2010 sold it for $615 million to California-based Diamond Foods, which owns brands such as Pop Secret.[13] The sale was finalized in the following month.[14]

Outside of the US and UK[edit]

The Kettle Foods UK office also supports a network of independent distributors through which Kettle Foods' products are made available in the Middle East and in European countries outside of the UK, including; Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and Sweden.[15]

Kettle Foods is unaffiliated with the Kettle Chip brand sold in Australia which is owned by Snack Brands Australia.


Kettle features exclusively all-natural products, with its best-known brand being their batch-cooked extra crunchy potato chips. Their potato chips are fried using expeller-pressed high monounsaturated safflower and/or sunflower oil. The company has occasionally held contests to introduce new flavors. The 2006 contest winners were Tuscan Three Cheese and Buffalo Bleu; past contest winners include Cheddar Beer and Spicy Thai.[16]

Potato chip flavor examples[edit]

The following is a list of potato chip flavors sold by the company as of 2012.


  1. ^ Kish, Matthew. Kettle Foods sold to British group Portland Business Journal, August 9, 2006.
  2. ^ " :: Our History". Retrieved December 12, 2009. 
  3. ^ Our story so far, from the company's UK website
  4. ^ Kettle Foods from the Energy Trust website
  5. ^ Kettle foods from the state of Oregon website
  6. ^ a b "Kettle Foods Opens Green Plant In Beloit". WISC-TV. September 20, 2007. Retrieved December 12, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "Kettle Foods for sale". Portland Business Journal. December 10, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2009. 
  8. ^ Consumers start online campaign to boycott Kettle Chips, an October 9, 2007 article from The Guardian
  9. ^ Internet campaign to boycott foods, an October 11, 2007 article from Norwich Evening News
  10. ^ The Burke Group
  11. ^ "Atty. Gen. Brown Settles Potato Chip Lawsuit With Heinz, Frito-Lay & Kettle Foods". Press Release (State of California). August 1, 2008. Retrieved October 28, 2011. Under today's settlements, Frito-Lay, Inc., which sells most of the potato chips sold in California, Kettle Foods, Inc., maker of "Kettle Chips," and Lance, Inc., maker of Cape Cod Chips will reduce acrylamide over a period of three years to 275 parts per billion. For Frito Lay, this is about a 20% reduction, while for Kettle Chips, which contain far more acrylamide, this is an 87% reduction in acrylamide. 
  12. ^ Lazarus, David (August 6, 2008). "A stone wall made of potato chips". Consumer Confidential (Los Angeles Times). Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  13. ^ Bloomberg News (February 26, 2010). "Kettle Foods of Salem sold for $615M". Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Diamond wraps up acquisition of Kettle Foods". The Oregonian. The Oregonian. March 31, 2010. Retrieved April 1, 2010. 
  15. ^ Just for retailers from the company's European website
  16. ^ And the winner is... from the company's website
  17. ^ "Our Products". Kettle Foods. Retrieved January 25, 2012. 
  18. ^ Kettle Chips' 30th anniversary
  19. ^ "Our Hand Cooked Chips". Kettle Foods Ltd. Retrieved January 25, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Our Hand Cooked Chips". Kettle Foods Ltd. Retrieved July 1, 2013. 

External links[edit]