The Innovator Blog

Crunchy Contender – Why Are Kettle Chips So Popular?

When it comes to savory snacks, there’s no denying the biggest product in the market is potato chips. Within this lucrative category, one crunchy contender continues to steal the spotlight.

Batch Frying Kettle Chips

With their signature crunch and seemingly endless flavor varieties — kettle chips are an enduring consumer favorite. But what’s the secret to this enduring popularity — and what is it exactly — that makes them so very special?

The answer begins with their cooking method. This type of potato chip undergoes a traditional cooking process known as ‘batch cooking’ or batch frying, and whether you know them as ‘kettle-fried’ or ‘kettle-style’ — the signature crunch is the same.

Batch Frying vs Continuous Frying

Several factors differentiate a batch-fried potato chip from a regular potato chip. While regular potato chips are known for being mass produced, most consumers associate batch-fried varieties with a smaller more ‘artisan’ cooking process. The regular style of potato chip is made using a ‘continuous frying’ method that focusses on speed and efficiency. In this method, potato slices are continuously fed into the equipment and carried through the fryer with circulated oil externally heated to a set temperature, before being discharged. Many of the larger players in the potato chip industry are utilizing continuous frying to produce regular style potato chips.

Industrial Batch FryersBy contrast, the process of making batch-fried potato chips is significantly different. To start with, the potato slices used are typically thicker, and as the name suggests these potato chips are cooked in individual batches. An inherently longer process than continuous frying, batch-fried potato chips are cooked in small batches, at much lower temperatures than regular potato chips. It’s a slower, more traditional cooking method which sees the chips spend more time in the oil with a specified controlled temperature profile through the batch cook cycle.

While the process of batch-frying potato chips is certainly longer, it is the slower cooking process that achieves the unique texture and signature crunch consumers love. Not washing the potato slices prior to frying (allowing starch to remain on the surface of the slices) is what allows the delicious golden color of batch-fried chips to develop.

Origins of batch cooked potato chips

Long ago, in the time before commercial production, potato chip lovers used the batch cooking method at home. They’d slice up their own small batch of potatoes — before lowering them into a kettle of hot oil — taking them out to drain them off — then repeating the process. In those days, the vessel people used to cook their small batches of potato chips was a kettle shape, and this is where the term ‘kettle chips’ or ‘kettle cooked’ originated. This rustic cooking method achieved a distinct taste and texture — that is much the same now — as it was then.

In modern-day potato processing, the commercial batch fryer is an industry workhorse. They’re known as an economical frying solution for high volume production of batch-fried potato chips, French fries, prepared foods, meat, poultry and seafood and meat alternative products.

A batch fryer from Heat and Control produces superior quality products with a long shelf life. This equipment offers years of efficient, reliable service, with a small footprint, which makes them ideal for entry level or start-up brands, or established snacks processors looking to expand their product lines.



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