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There’s a Reason Potato Chip Bags Are Always Empty at the Top

Reader's Digest.CA logo Reader's Digest.CA 2017-08-09 Sam Benson Smith
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Some people may be disappointed by the lost potential represented by a bag of potato chips. The pessimist will say that the bag is half empty upon opening, the optimist will say that it’s half full, but will still be pretty peeved about getting gypped out of chips. The British person will be severely confused as to why the optimist and pessimist are arguing about a bag of French fries. Everyone will be thoroughly flummoxed.

But as it turns out, although it seems like your bag of potato chips should be brimming, there’s a sound scientific reason why it is not. That little pouch of air serves a dual purpose: part padding, part preservative.

The extra space is what’s called 'slack fill,' and it allows the chips some wiggle room so that they don’t get crushed to bits during transportation. A deflated or popped bag of chips is going to be way more susceptible to damage than a pillowy one.

Now to the contents of the slack fill. The gas inside the bag is not oxygen or any old air, it’s nitrogen. Nitrogen helps keep the chips crispy and fresh, while oxygen can actually make the snacks spoil much more rapidly. But, if you still have an issue with the concept of slack fill, just pick up a tube of Pringles. A more structured package means less need for padding. And if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to the salty snack altogether, look no further than one of these 30 healthy snacks you won’t feel nearly as guilty about eating.

Each year, the average American eats approximately four pounds of potato chips. Spread across the United States, that equates to 1.5 billion pounds of potato chips per year. That’s a whole lot of nitrogen.

If the store bought stuff isn’t doing it for you, remember that you can always make your own healthy chips, potato or otherwise, right at home!

Source: Mental Floss 

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