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Fun Facts for National Potato Chip Day

What's your favorite flavor?

In honor of National Potato Chip Day, Michigan-based Better Made Snack Foods is sharing little-known potato chip secrets and trivia while encouraging Michiganders to indulge in a little salty snackage today.

According to Better Made, potato chips remain the best-selling segment of the salty snacks market with $6.8 billion in sales in 2010. Potato Chips were first made in 1853 while Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was on vacation in New York. While at the Moon's Lake Lodge, he kept sending his fried potatoes back to the kitchen because he said they were too thick and not crunchy enough.

The chef, Native American George Crum, decided that he would cut them into paper-thin slices, boil them in oil, fry them and salt them as a joke to the Commodore. It backfired as they became an instant success and the restaurant became well known for them.

Here are a few fun potato chip facts, courtesy of Better Made:

  • The average potato chip is between .04 and .08 of an inch thick.
  • Approximately nine out of 10 households in the United States consume at least one type of salty snack, with potato chips having the highest consumption level at 8 percent.
  • The first recipe for potato chips (called "fried shavings") appeared in Mary Randolf's Virginia House-Wife cookbook in 1824, and some argue she is the inventor of the snack.
  • Potato chips were declared an unessential food at the outset of World War II and production of them was completely halted for a time. It was only after a protest that the War Production Board reversed the decision.
  • It takes approximately 10,000 pounds of potatoes to make 2,500 pounds of potato chips.
  • Prior to mass distribution, potato chips were dispensed in bulk from barrels or glass display cases in grocery stores. Throughout the years, potato chips have been packaged in cans, paper bags, cellophane, plastic, aluminum foil and cardboard tubes. 
  • The average person eats the equivalent of 96 one-ounce bags of potato chips each year. That's equivalent to 6 pounds a year.

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