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The Struggles Of Reformulating HFSS-Friendly Chips

April 17, 2022: 12:00 AM EST
Chip brands, including as Walkers and Golden Wonder, are reformulating existing products and launching new ones to avoid upcoming HFSS regulations in October. However, making chips HFSS-friendly has proven difficult as they are normally fried in oil and covered in salty seasonings. To overcome these challenges, companies are changing cooking method, using potato alternatives and adapting seasonings. Manufacturers have been experimenting with different cooking methods long before the announcement of HFSS regulations. KP Snacks' Popchips launched in the UK a decade ago and air-pops dried potato and rice to create its lower-calorie snacks. Companies have also looked to vegetables and pulses as an alternative to potatoes. Hippeas has been air-popping chickpeas since 2016 and KP brand Tyrrells recently launched two low-fat lentil chip lines. However, these efforts must be met with changes to the chip seasoning, as most of them are high in sugar and salt. Some flavors like salt & vinegar avoid sugar but make up for it by having lots of salt. On the other hand, cheesy and smoky chips flavors tend to have a high sugar content. Spicy and chilli-based seasonings tend to be non-HFSS friendly as its intense flavor reduces the need for added sugar and salt.  

Some brands are choosing not to go through the trouble of making products non-HFSS. For example, Kettle Foods has decided against reformulating its core line for now. There is still uncertainty over how well non-HFSS chip lines will sell, even if they can be promoted. Many consumers are sceptical of BFY snacks and tend to purchase chips as an indulgent treat, knowing it isn’t a healthy option. However, the long-term hope is that the new wave of non-HFSS ranges will gradually change consumer tastes and behaviors. 
Niamh Leonard-Bedwell, "A better behaved crisp: crisps category report 2022", The Grocer, April 17, 2022, © William Reed Ltd
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