Why Are Potato Chips Bags Only Half Full?

How frustrating it is to open a potato chips bag only to find half of it full of air, right? Well, as it turns out, there’s actually a reason for that extra space in the package and it’s not just there to frustrate you.

This difference between the actual capacity of a package and the volume of the product it contains is called “Slack fill”. The actual purpose of the slack fill is to protect the product through the manufacturing and shipping process by acting as a cushion.

But that’s not just ordinary air: it’s nitrogen. Filling a potato chips bag with oxygen would have caused the potato chips to spoil. The humidity would have made them wet and soft. On the other hand, nitrogen gas helps the snacks stay fresh and crisp. (the article continues after the ad)

But how much slack fill is acceptable?

There is no clear indication as to the percentage of slack fill but the federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (1966) required that all manufacturers should clearly indicate the net weight of their product’s contents in order to prevent customers from being tricked by huge-seeming containers on the shelves.

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: Potato Chips Were Invented By A Complaining Customer And An Angry Chef

Main Article Photo: Creative Commons
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: Why Are Potato Chip Bags Always Half-Empty?‘I was fed up with the air in crisp bags – so I measured it’How Do Potato Chips Stay Fresh In The Bag?

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