A stack of Pringles chips
|Product type||Potato snack|
|Introduced||1967 in United States |
1991 in Great Britain
|Previous owners||Procter & Gamble (1967–2012)|
Originally developed by Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1967, and marketed as "Pringle's Newfangled Potato Chips", the brand was sold to Kellogg's in 2012. As of 2011 Pringles are sold in more than 140 countries. In 2012, Pringles were the fourth most popular snack brand after Lay's, Doritos and Cheetos (all manufactured by Frito-Lay), with 2.2% market share globally.
In 1956, Procter & Gamble (P&G) assigned a task to chemist Fredric J. Baur (1918-2008) to develop a new kind of potato chips to address consumer complaints about broken, greasy, and stale chips, as well as air in the bags. Baur spent 2 years developing saddle-shaped chips from fried dough and invented the tubular can as the chips' container. However, he could not figure out how to make the chips taste good and was pulled off the task to work on another brand. In the mid-1960s, another P&G researcher, Alexander Liepa of Montgomery, Ohio, restarted Baur's work and succeeded in improving the taste. Even though Baur was the true inventor of the Pringles chip, Liepa's name is on the patent. Gene Wolfe, a mechanical engineer and author known for science fiction and fantasy novels, helped develop the machine that cooks them.
The consistent saddle shape is mathematically known as a hyperbolic paraboloid. Their designers reportedly used supercomputers to ensure that the chips' aerodynamics would keep them in place during packaging and that they wouldn’t break when being stacked on top of each other.
P&G began selling Pringles in limited areas in 1967; by 1975, they were available across most of the USA, and by 1991, were distributed internationally.
There are several theories behind the origin of the product's name. One theory refers to Mark Pringle, who filed a US Patent 2,286,644 titled "Method and Apparatus for Processing Potatoes" on March 5, 1937. Pringle's work was cited by P&G in filing their own patent for improving the taste of dehydrated processed potatoes. Another theory suggests that two Procter advertising employees lived on Pringle Drive in Finneytown (north of Cincinnati, Ohio), and the name paired well with "potato chips". Another theory says that P&G chose the Pringles name from a Cincinnati telephone book.
The product was originally known as Pringles Newfangled Potato Chips, but other snack manufacturers objected, saying Pringles failed to meet the definition of a potato "chip" since they were made from a potato-based dough rather than being sliced from potatoes like "real" potato chips. The US Food and Drug Administration weighed in on the matter, and in 1975, they ruled Pringles could only use the word "chip" in their product name within the following phrase: "potato chips made from dried potatoes". Faced with such a lengthy and unpalatable appellation, Pringles eventually opted to rename their product potato "crisps", instead of chips.
In July 2008, in the London High Court, P&G lawyers successfully argued that Pringles were not crisps (even though labelled "Potato Crisps" on the container) as the potato content was only 42% and their shape, P&G stated, "is not found in nature". This ruling, against a United Kingdom VAT and Duties Tribunal decision to the contrary, exempted Pringles from the then 17.5% VAT for potato crisps and potato-derived snacks. In May 2009, the Court of Appeal reversed the earlier decision. A spokesman for P&G stated it had been paying the VAT proactively and owed no back taxes.
In April 2011, P&G agreed to the $2.35 billion sale of the brand to Diamond Foods of California, a deal which would have more than tripled the size of Diamond's snack business. However, the deal fell through in February 2012 after a year-long delay due to issues over Diamond's accounts. On May 31, 2012, The Kellogg Company officially acquired Pringles for $2.695 billion as part of a plan to grow its international snacks business. The acquisition of Pringles makes Kellogg the second-largest snack company in the world.
Pringles have about 42% potato content, the remainder being wheat starch and flours (potato, corn, and rice) combined with vegetable oils, an emulsifier, salt, and seasoning. Other ingredients can include sweeteners like maltodextrin and dextrose, monosodium glutamate (MSG), disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, sodium caseinate, modified food starch, monoglyceride and diglyceride, autolyzed yeast extract, natural and artificial flavors, malted barley flour, wheat bran, dried black beans, sour cream, cheddar cheese, etc.; Pringles varieties vary in their ingredients.
Pringles also produces several "tortilla" and "multi-grain" varieties which have some of their base starch ingredients replaced with corn flour, rice, wheat bran, black beans, and barley flour. At one point in the early 1990s, "Corn Pringles" were available. The canister was black and had cartoon images of corn, as well as the normal packaging standards. The chips were made of corn and resembled a corn chip in flavor and texture. Rice Pringles were also available in the UK although it had been discontinued.
One serving of Pringles (Original flavor) contains 150 calories, 2.5 g of saturated fat, 150 mg of sodium, 110 mg of potassium, and 1 g of protein.
Pringles are available in several flavors. Until the 1980s, only the original flavor was available in the US. Standard flavors in the US currently include original, salt and vinegar, sour cream and onion, cheddar cheese, ranch dressing, barbecue, hot and spicy, and loaded baked potato. Some flavors are distributed only to limited market areas; for example, prawn cocktail, wasabi, and curry flavors have been available in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
Occasionally, P&G produced limited edition runs. Seasonal flavors, past and present, include ketchup, zesty lime and chili, chili cheese dog, "pizzalicious", paprika, Texas BBQ sauce, buffalo wing, and cajun. A "low-fat" variety was also sold. Examples of limited edition flavors include jalapeño, honey mustard, cheesy fries, onion blossom, mozzarella cheese stick, screamin' dill pickle, and Mexican-layered dip. In 2012, they brought out seasonal flavors of "peppermint white chocolate", cinnamon sugar, and "pumpkin pie spice". Other examples of limited runs only in certain parts of the world include as mozzarella stick with marinara in North America and jalapeño in Latin America, also soft-shelled crab, grilled shrimp, seaweed, "blueberry and hazelnut", and "lemon and sesame" in Asia in early 2010s. The grilled shrimp chips are pink in color, while seaweed is colored green.
Two limited-market flavors, cheeseburger and "Taco Night", were recalled in March 2010 as a safety precaution after Salmonella was found in a Basic Food Flavors plant which produces the flavor-enhancing hydrolyzed vegetable protein used in those flavors.
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Pringles is advertised in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Ireland with the slogan "Once you pop, the fun don't stop" along with the original slogan "Once you pop, you can't stop".
The original Pringles television commercials were written, produced and directed by Thomas Scott Cadden (composer of the original Mr. Clean jingle) in 1968, while working at Tatham-Laird and Kudner Advertising Agency in Chicago.
Throughout its history, Pringles used its print and television advertising campaigns to compare their products to conventional potato chips. In its early years, they were marketed as " Pringles Newfangled Potato Chips" and had a small silver pop-top to open the can. Unlike the current advertising, they only mentioned that, with their pop-top cans (which have been replaced with foil tops since the late 1980s), their chips remain fresh and unbroken, the can holds as many chips as a typical large bag, and their curvy shape allows them to be stackable; thus inspiring the slogan, "Other potato chips just don't stack up."
By the 1980s, the company launched the "Pringle Jingle", whose lyrics were "Once you taste the flavor ("It's a deep-fried taste!"), then you get the fever ("With a crispy crunch!"), then you've got the fever for the flavor of a Pringle!"
Beginning in the late 1990s and continuing today, Pringles advertising has returned to comparing their product to bagged chips, which they view as greasy and broken. In a typical ad, a group of people are enjoying Pringles, while a lone person is eating a bag of generic potato chips (the bags themselves resemble either Lay's or Ruffles, depending on the Pringles variety marketed in the ad). They dump out some broken potato chips into their hand, only to find they are greasy, and end up wiping the grease on their clothing.
The Pringles logo is a stylized cartoon caricature of the head of a male figure (officially known as "Julius Pringles") designed by Louis R. Dixon, with a large mustache and parted bangs (until 2001, the character had eyebrows and his bow tie framed the product name; in 1998, the bangs and lips were removed from the logo, and his head was widened a little).
Pringles, as a product brand, is especially known for its packaging, a tubular paperboard can with a foil-lined interior (Until the 1980s, the cans also contained a removable paper liner which held the chips in place) and a resealable plastic lid, which was invented by Fredric J. Baur, an organic chemist and food storage technician who specialized in research and development and quality control for Cincinnati-based Proctor & Gamble. Baur's children honored his request to bury him in one of the cans by placing part of his cremated remains in a Pringles container in his grave.
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