The Story of Chips

The reason why we have chosen this topic is because our team loves Zweifel Chips and we had a fair amount of questions about that company.

Swiss made?
Loads of Swiss consumers like to check the origin of goods in supermarkets. In fact, 43% of the population prefers Swiss products. Our team has often wondered if the products which are labeled “swiss made” really are swiss made. We did some research and found out, that the products don’t always need to be produced in Switzerland to be labeled “swiss made”. The following answers are inspired by the interview answers which the company Zweifel chips gave us [2]. Here are some examples:

Agricultural Products
Agricultural products are allowed to be sold with origin Switzerland even if they were harvest on borderland like Germany or France. [5]

80-Percent Rule
Products are allowed to be labeled “Swiss made” if  80% of the ingredients were harvest in Switzerland and produced in Switzerland. Important to know is that ingredients, for example cocoa beans, don’t count to those 80% because they don’t grow in Switzerland. That way chocolate is allowed to be labeled “Swiss made” even though Swiss milk and sugar only make 30% of the product. [5]

Temporary Shortage
If there is a shortage in Switzerland, companies are allowed to import the ingredients and still label them “swiss made”. An example are chips. If the harvest wasn’t good and there are not enough potatoes companies are allowed to import them without labeling it. [2] [5]

The interview
Zweifel chips is a good example for the label “Swiss made”. We did an interview with the Zweifel chips company in Spreitenbach and asked them some questions about their production, from where they have their products, how much “grey energy” they produce and what they could do to be eco-friendlier. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible for Zweifel chips to forward us a statistic about “grey energy” due to terms of business. We transformed the interview into a text which you will find below. Also they didn’t respond to our question about what they do to produce eco-friendlier. Our team thinks it is important that companies start to produce eco-friendlier. We gathered some ideas and made a video with the example of the Potato chips company. We hope our video can inspire Potato chips and other companies in order to make a change in the future! [1]

Origin of the products
43 percent Swiss habitants prefer eating products which are made in Switzerland, so for our team it was important to consider this question. According to the Zweifel chips company their aim is to buy potatoes from Swiss suppliers. However, the weather conditions won’t allow this always. Approximately 15% of the potatoes are imported. The sunflower oil is from Switzerland. However, flavours and nuts have their origin oversea.
The oil for the packaging is either from Switzerland or from Austria. Organic potatoes are marked accordingly, the rest of the potatoes for the chips correlate to the IP-Swiss planting. [5]

The Life Cycle of Chips

lifecycle of potatoe chips

The raw materials of chips are potatoes, cooking oil, and seasonings. The potatoes are harvested from local potato farms if possible. The potatoes are delivered to companys which make potato chips. During these stages the potatoes go from whole potatoes to thinly sliced potatoes. Ovens and Friers are used to bake and fry the sliced potatoes. Waste that is produced is excess oil and acrylamide. None of the waste is reused, as it is unhealthy to do so.

The chips are delivered to different shops where they are sold. Unopened potato chips last 2-4 weeks, opened chips last 2-3 days. The end of the life cycle is if the chips are eaten or thrown into a bin.

Packaging/delivery
The raw materials are transported in insulated trucks to keep the materials at the right temperature. The transportation time varies from country to country. A more eco-friendlier way to transport the materials would be a bike, hot air balloons or electric cars, but unfortunately this would take more time and higher costs would be created. The chips are packaged in aluminum laminated with polypropylene. The bag in which the chips are placed in is bad for the environment and it can’t be recycled. An eco-friendlier way would be paper bags. [3]

Conclusion
Through this website project, we were able to learn more about our topic. Now we know for example that almost half of the Swiss population prefers Swiss labeling.

Our team faced also some little challenges, especially in the beginning when we wanted to interview the Zweifel Chips company. We did not get the detailed answers as we expected. To sum up, we enjoyed doing a teamwork project because we got along very well.

(reviewed by Mrs. Gabriel-Zeyrek)

Interview questions and answers [1]
1.    Wie viel Ihrer Produkte wie z.B Kartoffeln, Gewürze, Nüsse etc. kommen aus der Schweiz? Von wo kommen die anderen Produkten?

Grundsätzlich möchten wir bei den Kartoffeln 100% aus der Schweiz beziehen. Wetterextreme, wie wir sie im Hitzesommer 2015 und mit dem sehr nasskalten Frühling 2016 hatten, zwingen uns manchmal zu Importen. Im langjährigen Schnitt müssen wir etwa 15 % unserer Kartoffeln importieren. Das Sonnenblumenöl kommt auch zu einem beachtlichen Teil aus der Schweiz. Gewürze und Nüsse stammen aus dem Ausland, die werden in der Schweiz auch nicht angebaut.

2.    Woher werden die Verpackungsmaterialien importiert, können Sie uns etwas zu den Materialien sagen?

Wir verwenden dünnstmögliche Folien für die Herstellung unsere Beutel. Die Folien stammen von Herstellern aus der Schweiz oder aus Österreich.

3.    Wie werden Ihre Produkte angebaut (Bio etc.)?

Potato stellt unter anderem Bio-Chips her, die Produkte sind auch entsprechend gekennzeichnet. Die Kartoffeln für die übrigen Chips entsprechen dem Anbau-Standard IP-Suisse.

4.    Wie ökologisch ist Ihre Firma Potato Chips, wo werden umweltbewusste Massnahmen ergriffen? Wo sehen Sie Verbesserungspotenzial?

Zweifel Pomy-Chips AG tätigt laufend Investitionen in ökologische Massnahmen. Zu nennen sind beispielsweise eine Photovoltaik-Anlage mit 120 kW-peak, ein Blockheizkraftwerk, dass die in der Kläranlage entstehenden Biogase zu Strom und Wärme wandelt sowie ein eine Wärmerückgewinnungsanlage, welche die Abwärme unserer Fritteusen rückgewinnt und für die Heizung der eigenen sowie umliegender Liegenschaften genutzt wird.

5.    Was können Sie uns zu Ihren Produktionsabläufen und Verpackungsabläufen sagen?

Zweifel Pomy-Chips AG stellt in Spreitenbach mit rund 160 Mitarbeiter/innen rund 6500 to Kartoffel-Chips und 1500 to Popcorn und Snacks (z.B. Snacketti) her. Dazu benötigen wir ca.: 21‘000 to Kartoffeln, 2500 to Sonnenblumenöl, 500 to Salz und Gewürze.

Sources
[1] Our interview questions and the answers from the Zweifel Pomy-Chips AG, Spreitenbach
[2] Saldo 19/2016
[3] Find out if your potato chips bag is recyclable (aluminumsmc.wordpress.com)
[4] Zweifel Chips Video (vimeo.com)
[5] Zweifel Chips, Unternehmen (zweifel.ch)

 Jehona, Saida and Shauna

2 thoughts on “The Story of Chips

  1. Dear chips team

    We think that your post has got a clear structure with interesting informations. We see that you have invested a lot of time in your project, especially your video. We also like your pictures which you have used.

    You could improve the following things:

    – The animation of your video is a bit slow
    – You should write your names at the end of the post
    – It would be better if you lable also every step of your life cycle
    – At Point 5 of your interview: the official Designation for tonnes are “t” not “to”. Also you should write if these numbers are per year/day….

    Best regards

    Michael&Daniel

  2. Dear Zweifel-Team
    We like Zweifel Chips as well and your contribution about this company and the “swissness” of it is really very interesting.
    It’s a pity, that the employees from Zweifel can’t answer all your questions in detail, but we like your idea of doing a little self-made video instead to give them some suggestions how they can improve their production. A good addition to your contribution would be a visit in the production of Zweifel to see how the chips are produced and do some self-made videos.
    Sarah and Ronja/Ronja and Sarah

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