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Top 10 Untold Truths Of Pringles Chips

Pringles potato chips and their dapper, mustached mascot have an interesting story. There has been a long running argument over whether the salty snacks are actually chips or crisps. But regardless of the truth, the unique saddle shaped snack that comes in a tube is popular the world over.

10. What’s In A Name?

Most snack lovers are probably familiar with the Pringles mascot seen on every can of chips. This well groomed character with his hair parted down the middle and a bold mustache has literally been the face of Pringles since the late 1960’s. Julius Pringles, as the character has always been known, was invented by a man named Louis R. Dixon. This well known cartoon face has undergone some minor cosmetic changes over the years such as having his hair color changed from black to brown. For some reason the marketing department also decided to remove his bangs and lips in 1998. I suppose these changes gave him a slightly more sleek and modern look so the classic mascot could continue to compete in the hyper competitive snack market. This is a market that almost always caters to a young demographic. From that point of view it’s a little surprising they didn’t revamp Julius into a completely new character. Regardless of the changes Julius has endured he has remained a popular mascot recognized all around the world. Customers commonly refer to Julius as the “Pringles guy,” but the truth is its nice to know he has a dignified name that fits his classic design.

9. Do Not Adjust Your Pringles Can

You won’t be able to host a rock concert using an empty Pringles can any time soon, but you can make a rudimentary speaker that will boost your smart phone’s sound. The basic design for this makeshift speaker involves cutting a slot in the side of the Pringles can so you can stand up your phone inside it. The next step is to stuff some napkins or toilet paper inside the empty tube. This step will dampen the echo produced by the hollow tube and improve the sound. It is also recommended by the online speaker enthusiasts that you glue some type of beads or clips to the bottom of the can so your speaker stays in place. Otherwise your new speaker will be in constant danger of rolling onto its side or even worse – onto the floor. You might be inclined to think this is just another one of those silly marketing gimmicks for a popular snack brand. I know I did. However, the consensus on the Internet is that this simple to make speaker actually does give your phone increased volume and a crisper sound. Just a few short minutes of preparation and your Pringles can will be ready to rock out at your next kitchen concert. 

8. Stranger Than Fiction

Gene Rodman Wolfe is a prolific science fiction and fantasy writer who has published books with names like The Book of the New Sun. This popular fantasy novel has been ranked as the third best of its kind written before 1990 after The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Although Mr. Wolfe is mostly known for his literary works he also played an important role in a key episode in Pringles history. After fighting in the Korean War in the early 1950’s Wolfe returned to the United States and worked to earn a degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Houston. After graduating from college he worked in the engineering field for a number of years before switching over to become a full-time writer. At one point in his engineering career Mr. Wolfe had an opportunity to do some work for the makers of Pringles chips. He used his extensive knowledge of engineering, and perhaps his vivid imagination as well, to design the machine that cooks these unique chips. So even if Mr. Wolfe hadn’t had a successful career as a fiction writer he would have been celebrated by Pringles fans for his important contribution to this popular snack.

7. Brad Pitt Was The Face Of Pringles

Brad Pitt is a Hollywood star well known for his leading man good looks and a long list of film credits. You probably know Pitt was married to Hollywood beauty Angelina Jolie and has been involved with a string of desirable women that includes Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow. But did you know that early in his acting career Pitt was the star of a Pringles television commercial? Television commercials are common stops along the career paths of young actors who haven’t made it big yet. Many times actors prefer to want to forget these modest early roles and focus on their hit movie roles. This particular Pringles commercial doesn’t look like it was worthy of winning any awards. On the other hand, the handsome Mr. Pitt appears to be having a lot of fun in this 1989 spot where he is seen eating Pringles chips and hanging out with beautiful young women. Maybe there’s a chance Mr. Pitt can be convinced to reprise this role and share some small screen time with Mr. Julius Pringle once again. While it would certainly be a fun marketing ploy we probably shouldn’t hold our breaths.

6. Who Invented Pringles?

Product development can be a complicated business and this is true in the case of Pringles chips. At least two men have been identified with the invention of this popular snack. The story starts out straight forward enough when in 1956 Proctor and Gamble asked a chemist named Fredric Baur to come up with a new potato chip. The company wanted to respond to customer complaints about damaged and oil laden chips. Customers were also annoyed by all the air in their bags of potato chips. After working on the project for 2 years Baur came up with fried dough in the now familiar saddle shape. The tubular can was also his idea, but there was one problem: the new chips didn’t taste very good so Baur was dropped from the experimental potato chip program. About 10 years late P&G decided to try again and tapped a man named Alexander Leipa to develop a new and tasty chip. He used Baur’s work as a starting point moving forward and eventually did succeed in making a new chip his bosses were happy with. Most people who have looked at this controversy consider Baur the true inventor of the Pringles chip, but it is Mr. Leipa’s name on the patent. But it looks like Mr. Baur might have gotten the last laugh because his ashes were actually buried in a Pringles can. How’s that for a legacy?

5. Chip Or Not A Chip?

Many potato chip makers who were alarmed by the success of Pringles brand chips. They decided to band together and  complain that the chips were not fact chips. The group argued that P&G shouldn’t be allowed to call its tasty new product a potato chip. Perhaps instead of complaining about Pringles the other companies should have gotten to work on creating new snacks customers wanted to eat. The people tasked with marketing Pringles decided to refer to the snack as “Newfangled potato chips” and its customers happily accepted this. However, the Food and Drug Administration was not so happy and in 1975 ruled against Pringles. The company decided to shrug off the government’s decision and made a decision to change the description of their product. They started calling the snacks “crisps.” Years later this led to a court battle in the United Kingdom where they are serious about their crisps. In 2008 the British government ruled Pringles, as a crisp, are an unnecessary food and therefore subject to a Value Added Tax. P&G went to court to argue Pringles are indeed food because they are made from a dough and not just a lowly “potato crisp product.” The court ultimately ruled that Pringles aren’t subject to the VAT and customers could go about their business of enjoying the tasty snack – regardless of whether they’re technically chips or crisps!

4. An Embarrassment Of Chips

Pringles potato chips are a tasty favorite around the world so it’s safe to assume to everyone will be happy with only a handful of flavors. For a while the chip maker got away with selling the basic chip flavor to customers and they seemed content. However, with such a diverse customer base it was just a matter of time before they’d have to offer more. There are a lot of palates to satisfy and a lot of opportunities to experiment with unique flavors. The drive to satisfy all of these different tastes has resulted in at least 100 flavors of Pringles chips. Some of the more popular flavors include Sour Cream and Onion, Cheddar, Barbecue and Ranch, but these varieties barely scratch the surface of potential flavors. Some of the unique Pringle flavors found on the international snack market include Blueberry and Hazelnut, Bangkok Grilled Chicken Wing, Cinnamon Sweet Potato and Garlic Seafood. It seems like there is literally a Pringle flavor for every conceivable taste so you’ll be covered whether you prefer the original Pringles or crave something more exotic like Indonesian Satay (a seasoned and grilled meat dish.) The dessert flavored chips that include things like cinnamon and chocolate seem a little odd to me, but different combinations of sweet and salty chips have been a popular choice for many.

3. Hot Dog In A Can

If you thought the Pringles can made into a speaker was a pretty cool idea than you’re really going to love the Pringles can as a hot dog cooker idea. Even though the Pringles can speaker turned out to be real, part of me thought the Pringles hot dog cooker was an Internet inspired hoax. After you’ve eaten all the chips the empty can will have to be cut open to expose the shiny, foil surface on the inside of the can. Once you have the interior exposed simply place a hot dog inside suspended by a skewer fitted through both ends of the can. Hot dog enthusiasts have reported on the Internet that when exposed to the energy of the sun the temperature of the interior of the can will easily rise above 170 degrees. You should know at the outset that  you don’t want to be in much of a hurry to eat your hot dog if this is the heating method you’ve decided to use. However, you can finish the rest of the chips while you’re waiting for your hot dog to heat up. Obviously. you’ll have to buy additional cans of Pringles if you want to cook more than one hot dog at a time. If you get tired of waiting you can always use a microwave oven instead. Since hot dogs have already been cooked when you buy them a makeshift Pringles cooker is more than enough to heat them up. Hot dogs certainly go well with Pringles but the question is: do Pringles come in a hot dog flavor?

2. Pringles? That Is The Question

In 2004 Proctor & Gamble decided to introduce a twist: tasty Pringles chips to feed your taste buds and fun facts and trivia questions to feed your brain. The company explained that it would use an edible blue and red food dyes and a special conveyer belt printer to print questions and answers on the side of a chip. But the question was did people want to work their brains or just pop more chips in their mouths? In a partnership with companies like the makers of the Trivia Pursuit Junior game P&G decided on several categories including a variety of jokes, fun facts and animal facts. Market research about the plan conducted by P&G provided the company with some important insights. For example, customers told researchers that each chip in a can would need to have a different message. This seems like an unnecessarily high bar for a lowly snack food to have to meet, but the customer is always right. The reasoning behind this particular demand was that children and parents alike would be disappointed by duplicate messages in the same can. Although no final decision has been made, P&G suggested that sometime in the future Pringles chips could be printed with other messages such as advertisements. This idea might not go over as well as the trivia questions, but I have a strong feeling it wouldn’t prevent most customers from continuing to enjoy one of their favorite snacks.

1. Totally Tubular!

Fans of the classic tubular canister we all associate with Pringles chips have a chemist to thank for the unique design. A scientists named Fredric Baur was tapped by P&G to respond to customer complaints about inconsistent and broken chips that were sold in bags. Customers also complained these bags were often filled with too much air. Mr. Baur decided to design a saddle shaped chip which is technically known as a hyperbolic paraboloid. This is a shape that is easily stacked and can be conveniently shipped and sold in a rigid container. The result is the very recognizable tubular canister that continues to be associated with Pringles chips sold around the world. This forward thinking design has led to a significant reduction in the amount of breakage. Also, customers don’t have to open packages filled with a lot of air, technically the bags are filled with nitrogen, instead of more chips. The only drawback is that after you’ve eaten a few chips you have to tip the can over on its side to get the chips to slide out. I’ve always been a little suspicious that these stackable chips in a can was part of a clever marketing ploy to make it even easier for hungry customers eat plenty of chips. Either way Pringles chips are a unique snack that are sold in what is probably one of the most recognizable food packages out there.

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