The air in the bag of chips is not necessarily to fool you

Often, we open a bag of potato chips and, surprisingly, it is half empty, even though it seemed completely full because it was actually full of air. However, this strategy is not the result of marketing. In reality it is somewhat more complicated and has to do with the conservation of the potato chips themselves.

Being half empty, the bags can be filled with air, but with a very special air, an atmosphere that protects the potato.

Potato chips and other similar snacks go rancid easily when exposed to light and oxygen. To avoid this, opaque bags are used to serve as a barrier to light.

In addition, inside there is a protective atmosphere: the air is replaced by a mixture of gases that protect the product, as Miguel Ángel Lurueña explains in his book Don’t mess with food:

In the specific case of French fries, nitrogen is normally used, which is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and inert gas, that is, it does not react with other compounds and is safe for health. In order for this protective atmosphere to be effective, the ratio between the volume of gas and the volume of food must be equal to or greater than two, which explains why there is so much “air” in the bags and so few potatoes. Incidentally, this protects the product against breakage due to impact or crushing, that is, it serves as an “airbag”.

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