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
- 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.
- Purchase & Delivery – The seed potato is bought or delivered to the farm.
- Planting – The seed potato is put in the potato planter and planted in the fields.
- Fields Treated – The weeds are treated before the potato plants emerge.
- Plants Treated – The potato plants are treated to prevent blight.
- Irrigation – Through dry weather the potato plants are irrigated.
- Harvest – The potatoes are harvested from the ground.
- Grading – The potatoes are graded so that mud, weeds, stones as well as mis-shaped, small or rotten potatoes can be removed.
- Transportation To Factory – Lorries transport the graded potatoes to the crisp factory.
- Quality Check -The potatoes and all the other ingredients (vegetable oil and flavourings) used to make crisps are checked for quality.
- Storage – If the potatoes are not used straight away, then they are stored in controlled temperatures and humidity to keep them in good condition.
- Grading & Washing – When it is time to use the potatoes, they are graded and washed.
- Peeling – The washed potatoes are then peeled in a rotating drum which has a rough surface.
- Quality Check – Once peeled the potatoes pass along a conveyor belt for visual checking and any substandard potatoes are removed.
- 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.
- Washing – The thin potato slices are washed by jets of water to remove starch from their surfaces to prevent the slices from sticking together.
- Cooking – The potato slices move on a conveyor belt to large cookers where the slices are cooked in vegetable oil.
- Quality Check – A camera checks the colour of the crisps after cooking and crisps which are too dark or too pale are rejected.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Loading – The boxes of crisps are stacked onto pallets ready for loading onto the lorries.
- Transportation & Delivery – The crisps are transported by lorry and delivered to distribution depots, shops or supermarkets.