The Potato Crisp – From Farm to Packet

What Are Potato Crisps?

Potato crisps are a snack made from potatoes. The potatoes are peeled, washed, sliced and then fried in vegetable oil before they become potato crisps.

The Journey From Seed Potato To Potato Crisp

  1. Field Preparation – The fields are prepared for potato planting. They are ploughed and then fertiliser is applied. Then the field is cultivated using a bed tiller followed by a declodder/destoner.
  2. Purchase & Delivery – The seed potato is bought or delivered to the farm.
  3. Planting – The seed potato is put in the potato planter and planted in the fields.
  4. Fields Treated – The weeds are treated before the potato plants emerge.
  5. Plants Treated – The potato plants are treated to prevent blight.
  6. Irrigation – Through dry weather the potato plants are irrigated.
  7. Harvest – The potatoes are harvested from the ground.
  8. Grading – The potatoes are graded so that mud, weeds, stones as well as mis-shaped, small or rotten potatoes can be removed.
  9. Transportation To Factory – Lorries transport the graded potatoes to the crisp factory.
  10. Quality Check -The potatoes and all the other ingredients (vegetable oil and flavourings) used to make crisps are checked for quality.
  11. Storage – If the potatoes are not used straight away, then they are stored in controlled temperatures and humidity to keep them in good condition.
  12. Grading & Washing – When it is time to use the potatoes, they are graded and washed.
  13. Peeling – The washed potatoes are then peeled in a rotating drum which has a rough surface.
  14. Quality Check – Once peeled the potatoes pass along a conveyor belt for visual checking and any substandard potatoes are removed.
  15. Slicing – The potatoes are then sliced into very thin slices about 1.27mm thick. The blades in the slicing machine are changed regularly to keep them accurate and sharp.
  16. Washing – The thin potato slices are washed by jets of water to remove starch from their surfaces to prevent the slices from sticking together.
  17. Cooking – The potato slices move on a conveyor belt to large cookers where the slices are cooked in vegetable oil.
  18. Quality Check – A camera checks the colour of the crisps after cooking and crisps which are too dark or too pale are rejected.
  19. Flavourings – The crisps pass through a rotating flavour drum where  they are lightly sprinkled with salt or other flavourings. The rotating drum makes sure that the crisps are covered evenly.
  20. Primary Packaging – The crisps are fed from a conveyor belt into a hopper and automatically weighed into portions. The packets are formed from a reel of packaging film. The crisps drop into the open packets which are then sealed.
  21. Quality Check – The packets of crisps are checked to see if they weigh the correct amount and that the packets are sealed properly. A detector checks for foreign bodies in the packets.
  22. Date Stamping – Each packet of crisp is stamped with a special code as well as a best before date. The special code allows the manufacturer to trace when the crisps were made which is particularly useful if there is a problem with the crisps.
  23. Secondary Packaging – The packets of crisps are packed into cardboard boxes and then stamped with a best before date. This secondary packaging protects the crisps during transportation.
  24. Loading – The boxes of crisps are stacked onto pallets ready for loading onto the lorries.
  25. Transportation & Delivery – The crisps are transported by lorry and delivered to distribution depots, shops or supermarkets.

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1 thought on “The Potato Crisp – From Farm to Packet”

  1. Local farmer has just (mid-September) treated his field of potatoes for crisps to weedkiller. The field is now completely brown. He says it doesn’t affect the potatoes – or the river next to the field. I may never eat a crisp again!!

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