If you’ve ever purchased a bag of potato chips you probably noticed that about half the space inside the unopened bag contained air instead of chips.
And like most everyone else, you were probably disappointed (and perhaps even a bit angry).
What you might not know is the air inside chip bags isn’t “regular air”. It’s actually nitrogen gas.
Why nitrogen? Well, regular air contains gases that can both alter the taste of the chips and cause them to deteriorate rather quickly.
Nitrogen gas, on the other hand, doesn’t interact with the chips at all.
Therefore, removing all the regular air from a bag of chips and replacing it with nitrogen makes the chips last longer and still taste fresh when you finally get around to opening them.
Incidentally, exposing them to regular air is what causes chips to quickly go stale after you pop open the bag.
In case you’re wondering why they replace the removed air with nitrogen gas instead of simply packaging the chips in a vacuum, it’s to protect them from getting crushed during handling and shipment.
Simply removing the air and vacuum sealing the bag would preserve the taste of the chips and make them last longer, but with no air inside to “pad” the bag the chips would likely be crushed into powder by the time you got around to opening them.
Truth be told, I always thought the chip manufactures left their bags half empty simply to pad their profits, and that could well be one of the reasons.
But there’s another reason as well: The more “air” there is in the bag, the better the chips will be protected from damage during shipment and storage.
In other words, that extra “air” serves a useful purpose, even if the manufactures tend to take the quantity of it to an extreme.
Be that as it may, I guess it all works out in the end.
Just remember that it’s best to compare the prices of chips based upon net weight, not the size of the bag.
And now, to finish up…
If you love home-style potato chips, here’s an awesome short video that shows how to use an inexpensive mandolin slicer (#ad) and a regular stew pot to make your own delicious home-fried potato chips!
Note: As always, you can watch the video at full screen by clicking the “square” icon in the lower-right corner of the video after it begins playing.