The Neatest Little Paper Ever Read ®

Issue 974

Fabulous Food

SNACK FOODS

• In the mid-1960s a researcher for Procter & Gamble came up with an idea for a potato snack that was made of potato dough which was rolled, pressed, and cooked. A food storage technician named Fredric Baur invented a unique method of packaging the curved snacks by stacking them in a canister with a re-sealable lid rather than loose in a bag like most potato chips. By 1968 the new potato product was ready for the market, but it still needed a name.

• Rather than hire an advertising firm to think of a name, officials at Procter & Gamble pulled out the local phone book for Cincinnati, Ohio, which is where the factory was located. They went through the names of the streets, looking through the ones that started with a ‘P’ because they wanted a name that would match the ‘P’ in potato. In a suburb named Finneytown, they found the perfect ‘P’ they were looking for, and thus the name of the new potato snack was born.

• It was argued in a court of law that that the snack isn’t really potato chips because they only have a potato content of 42%. They were dubbed “potato crisps” instead.

• By the mid-1970s the product was being sold everywhere. Fredric Baur was so proud of his inventive packaging method that when he died in 2008, his will stipulated that he be buried in one. His children honored his request by having him cremated and placing some of his ashes in one of the potato crisp cans he had designed.

• This popular potato snack is now sold in over 100 countries and 45 different flavors have been introduced over the years, forever memorializing the Ohio street it was named after: Pringle Avenue.

• Amedeo Obici was born in Italy. His father died when he was seven, leaving his mother with three children. Amedeo’s uncle lived in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he ran a general store. He asked Amedeo to join him. Amedeo sailed to America at the age of 12.

• He spoke no English, so his destination was written on a tag tied to his coat. When he arrived in the U.S., he was misdirected, put aboard the wrong train, and ended up in Wilkes-Barre instead of Scranton. A kindly stranger took the crying child to a store run by Italians who could translate for him. He stayed with them while his uncle was contacted, and he noticed the shopkeeper’s daughter was pretty. Later he returned to this family, eventually marrying their daughter and helping run the shop.

• At this shop they sold peanuts, roasting them on the premises and using a large fan to blow the scent into the street as an advertisement. Amedeo built a push-cart to sell peanuts on the street, and soon had enough money to send for the rest of his family. He constructed his own peanut roaster out of junkyard components and later invented a method of shelling and skinning peanuts.

• In 1906 he opened a peanut plant, choosing a random name for his company that he thought sounded dignified: Planters.

• The iconic Mr. Peanut logo was drawn in 1916 by a 14-year-old who won a contest sponsored by the company. Amedeo was so taken with the youngster he ended up paying his way through college and medical school.

• To celebrate the company’s 100th birthday in 2014, nine young adults drove three 27-foot-long Nutmobiles around the country appearing along the way at stores, sporting events, and concerts.