Pringles: Chip or not?

When Pringles first came to my attention as a youth, I loved them. My dad did not share in this enthusiasm. Which is fine - to each his own - but he also claimed with some authority that “Pringles are </>not*potato chips.”

According to him, the fact that it is not made from actual chips from a potato (don’t have a can in front of me as to what they are made of, but I believe it’s potatoes all mulched up) seemed to be his evidence.

Well, I see frozen fried shrip made from “minced shrimp,” and we still call it Shrimp!

So, the question, it there an industry standard for the potato chip, and if so, does Pringles meet this standard?

Yer pal,

That depends on the meaning of the word “is.”

Seriously now, how do you want to define a chip? If you define a chip as a thin slice of whole potato that is deep-fat fried until crispy, then no, Pringles is NOT a potato chip.

Pringles is made from little flaked bits of potato (sort of like instant mashed potato) that have been shaped into the familiar form and quickly fried (or in some cases) baked.

Personally, I don’t find them unpleasant, but they aren’t “real” chips, either.

Hmmm. Interesting question. I presume there is gov’t. standard that applies. Hell, there is for everything else. I don’t what it is, but I’ll check around.

As a nontechnical response, I’d guess that Pringles do meet the standard or else they couldn’t call them potato chips. It’s probably isn’t anything that would impress foodies, though. The parallel I’m thinking of is the infamous pork and beans controversey. There actual amount of pork that has to be present usually consists of a small chunk of disgusting, rubbery white fat. But hey, it’s pork so it qualifies.

I’ve munched my share of Pringles but have developed slightly more finicky tastes for my fat and salt habit. (Even though chips mostly exist to hoist up generous glops of dip. Dill pickle dip. Bliss.)

Anyway, I vote with your father. If truth applied, Pringles would be called Premasticated Chipoid Products.

Congrats, Satan. You go for the real questions in life!

I’d say Pringles are chips to those who think Velveeta is cheese. A better description might be “processed potato chip food product.”

Don’t know where I saw this, but IIRC there is an industry standard related to the amount of real whole potato used. Products are classified as either chips or crisps.

Pringles would be potato crisps.

Just an irrelevant note: IIRC, here in Canada we have “Beans with Pork”. I don’t buy canned beans much, mostly cook my own “Beans with Farmer Sausage, Onions, and Lots of Garlic and Peppers”. Much tastier.

Bob the Random Expert
“If we don’t have the answer, we’ll make one up.”

Mmmmm, real beans with real STUFF. I agree with the carefully soaked beans, lots of onions and garlic, though I’m partial to smoked ham hock in them, myself. True fact: I have a batch in the slow cooker now.
Your beans and pork makes a lot more sense. By content, the beans sure punch in a lot higher.

Here’s a transcript of official testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives in which Pringles are referred to as “chips.”

Ok Ok Ok. In the interest of proving a worthy member of the SD science investigatory staff, I went downstairs and grabbed a Pringles can. On the can, it lables Pringles as “Original Potato Crisps”

Now, given that your basic bag of potato chips will use the term ‘chip,’ there are two reasonable explanations for the absence of the word ‘chip’ on the Pringles’ can. One would be that the term ‘crisp’ is viewed by Proctor & Gamble as a marketing advantage. The second would be that ‘chip’ is given a specific definition somewhere, and that P & G is prohibited from calling Pringles ‘chips’ because they fail that definition.

I recommend looking under the regulations associated with food labling for further answers. (Somehow I don’t think ‘crisp’ has any tremendous advantage ;))

Well, a real, un-reconstituted potato chip (a thinly sliced spud, deep-fried) is really a Saratoga Chip, since they were invented and popularized in Saratoga Springs, NY.

“Potato Chip” is a generic term, seems to me, so anything chiplike which contains potatoes could be called a potato chip. Just don’t call them “Pringles Newfangled Saratoga Chips.”


They go great with beer…they are entitled to the term “chips”

“…send lawyers, guns, and money…”

 Warren Zevon

TV, ham hocks would be good too, but the supermarket four blocks away doesn’t have them, and I like the farmer sausage too much to go hunting for ham. Of course, beans would work with just about any meat along that line. Or even without. :slight_smile:

Ike, is it just a UL that potato chips were accidental, when somebody was peeling one and dropped a shaving in the grease?

Bob the Random Expert
“If we don’t have the answer, we’ll make one up.”

The apocryphal explanation I heard for them was that a fussy customer kept sending back his french fries, complaining they were “too thick”. The cook finally got frustrated, cut a potato into “paper-thin slices” and deep-fried the suckers. (Now if someone gets on here and says that’s the real origin…)

“It’s bacon!!”


The story is true. The customer was some important guy - a general or something. It was actually a very well known (at the time) chef.

Gee, maybe Cecil could answer the Pringles question and tie it in with this? Sounds like a column to me… But wait! I have yet to see anything on this board wind up in the column.

I’ll have to start a thread on this in The Pit if this does not change…

Well, how about lowering the customer rank to Colonel and you’ll hit the mark on every story I’ve seen.
Each story also allows that they don’t know the name of the chef, but concur that he was African-American.
Point to ponder: if at any point the Colonel had quit saying “make them thinner” and just said “julienne” we may never have had the American Invention of potato chips.
At least not as early as the 1870’s.

Pringles are just potato-based particleboard. I avoid eating them whenever possible.

There seems to be quite a few versions of the Chip Saga. Charles Panati offers this version in “Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things”:

a)Date: summer of 1853
b)Place: Moon Lake Lodge (a resort), Saratoga Springs, NY
c)Chef: George Crum, an American Indian
d)Customer: unknown

The story is almost the same as told before, customer complained about the fries, pissed off the chef, etc. The “wafer-thin” :slight_smile: fries were named Saratoga Chips and they were such a success that Crum opened his own restaurant featuring chips.

And IMO, Pringles are not real chips. I have to agree with AuraSeer, totally tasteless.

For a similar product, I remember the wonderful “Frispo” that Carl’s Jr. restaurants sold in California, prior to about 1984. These were french fries made from reconstituted potatoes. You poured a bag of potato dust into the top of the machine, which then mixed it with water and extruded the paste in the shape of a fry. These were then deep fried and served to customers. When fresh, they tasted very crisp and flavorful, but they didn’t have the same lasting power a really well made fry has.

Just a note…I prefer Pringles.

Don’t blast me too hard.


I also prefer Pringles… to a bone-crushing punch in the nose. But as a food item, they are to be shunned.