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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Post# 233 - Frito Lay Ruffles and the Bearded Chip

I found an unusual chip.  I sent the note below to Frito Lay on 7/17/2011:

Dear Ruffles,

As a traveling shoe salesman, I rarely get a hot meal.  I rely on snacks and lots of foods that have a long shelf life.  Jerky, peanuts and crackers fill my day.  I eat dried apples and figs for roughage.  As a latenight snack, I look forward to Ruffles Brand Potato Chips.

Years ago, a friend advised me to "Get My Own Bag."  This was some of the best advice I had ever received.  I've been getting my own bag ever since.

However, I have recently endured a disturbing snacktime mishap.  As I was enjoying my Ruffles, I noticed that one of your chips had a "beard."  It's a fuzzy section, brown in color, on the outer edge of one of my chips.  It's quite disturbing and intimidating.  It reminds me of Mr. French's beard.

I've seen the Food Network.  I know you people have folks sorting the chips as they come down the line.  I also know that visual inspection is, and can only ever be 80% effective.  Sometimes shoes come in missing eyelets or soles.  It's embarrassing.

Is it normal to have bearded potato chips?  Is it even safe?  If it's normal, maybe you should add one of the bearded ones to the front of the package, to "forewarn" the customer.  Maybe you should also add a disclaimer on the back--"Warning: some of the chips in this bag may have beards, and it's okay."

I can try to hold onto the chip, if it helps.  I've taken a photo, if needed.  Freshness info from the bag: Aug. 9, 3191 15210. Barcode: 28400 033756.

Any assistance that you can provide is greatly appreciated.


Subject: A Message from Frito-Lay Consumer Relations - RE: Ruffles, Reference #011577082A
Date: Tuesday, July 19, 2011, 9:15 AM

Hi Jerry,

Thank you for writing. I'm sorry your potato chips were not what you expected and apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment this caused. I'm sending coupons to you which should arrive in about a week.

The brown or burnt-looking chips actually are made from potatoes with high sugar content. The sugar caramelizes when the chips are cooked, which causes them to turn brown when fried. We have a system in place to remove these chips before packaging and we’re sorry these were missed.

Quality is a top priority at Frito-Lay. Thanks to the information you provided, we are better able to investigate and take any actions necessary to prevent a recurrence.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.
Best regards,

Frito-Lay Consumer Relations
Note sent 7/19/2011:
Hello Natalia,

The darndest thing is, the chip wasn't discolored, except the ridge, which had a fuzzy beard.  It had no mustache, making it resemble, in some small way, our 16th President.

If you want a photo, I snapped one.

Thanks for responding,

Subject: A Message from Frito-Lay Consumer Relations - RE: Ruffles, Reference #011577082B
Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 10:15 AM

Hi Jerry,

Thank you for writing. We certainly understand why you would want to share your photo with us.

All of us at Frito-Lay have a great appreciation for pictures such as these.

If you'd like to send the photo to us, we'll be glad to post it on the "Star" board in our Department. Our address is: Frito-Lay, Inc. PO Box 660634, Dallas, TX 75266-0634.

We appreciate your interest and look forward to your continued satisfaction as a loyal Frito-Lay consumer.

Happy Snacking!


Subject: Re: A Message from Frito-Lay Consumer Relations - RE: Ruffles, Reference #011577082B
Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 11:28 PM

I think we have a misunderstanding.  I was intending to send a photo of my chip, not to gain acclaim in your hall of freaky chips.  Rather, to help you investigate what exactly went wrong.  To help you investigate whatever freak of nature potato, or whatever process step was missed, to allow for me to wind up with a frightening chip in my bag.
Abe Lincoln is fine, if he's on a $5 bill or in the Hall of Presidents.  Abe Lincoln in the food industry is a frightening proposition,  No Abe Lincoln waffles.  No Abe Lincoln pierogi, and no Abe Lincoln potato chips!


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