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P&G, British Court Argue Over Whether Pringles Are Potato Chips

British Court Rules Pringles Are Indeed Potato Chips

Pringles might be nicknamed "crack in a cardboard tube," but in the eyes of the UK government, they are still considered potato chips.

Last year, a UK judge ruled that because Pringles contains less than 50 percent potato and is formed into an artificial shape, it's not a chip, and therefore isn't subject to the 15 percent country's value-added tax. But in a major defeat for Pringles parent company P&G, this ruling was overturned, and the corporation must fork over approximately £100 million, or $159 million, in taxes.

In the appeal, P&G's lawyers insisted that the snacks were not potato chips, citing the "uniform color" and arguing that its "regular shape" is "not found in nature." P&G also maintains that Pringles are only 42 percent potato, a fact I'm pretty taken aback by. The chips other ingredients include maltodextrin, dextrose, and wheat starch.

Are you surprised to hear about these ingredients? Do you consider Pringles to be chips?


Join The Conversation
summerjams summerjams 8 years
ughhh!! thats just disgusting!!
wunami wunami 8 years
Well, the shape is close enough to chips that I generally consider them to be. If someone asks me to bring chips to a party and I bring Pringles, I don't think anyone would consider that strange. Still, it sounds like they don't have a definition of what a chip is and the courts are just deciding based on what they feel like. The thing that jumps out to me about this story is that they now retroactively have to pay a boatload in taxes. That seems kind of unfair considering they were operating under a ruling that allowed them to not pay taxes. Makes it seem like the second ruling had even less of a basis in definitions than in the government wanting money.
amandaaa amandaaa 8 years
i always thought they were called chips...what else would you call them? gross that they're not even half potato. i used to eat them when i was younger, my grandparents had a huge stock in their basement (i have no clue why) so i ate them all the time. doubt i would now.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 8 years
They've always been potato chips in my mind. But I guess the Pringles folks needed to separate themselves in some way.
pink-pirate pink-pirate 8 years
For the purposes of the UK tax code I think Pringles qualify as a potato crisp. I live in the UK right now and I didn't realize potato chips had VAT (as I rarely buy them). That explains why Doritos (corn based) are always noticeably cheaper at the supermarket.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
party---I think any other potato chip (like Lay's or Kettle Chips or whatever) are just very thinly cut potatoes that are deep-fried. So they're 100% potato, but it's kind of gross that Pringles are only 42% potato. I definitely think of them as chips. I mean, they're shaped like chips and basically ARE chips, so they should be subject to any junk food tax that's due.
pharm_chick pharm_chick 8 years
hmm, im going to rethink buying these in the future, if theyre not even fully potato!! if im going to indulge, id rather it be a real potato chip. now the ones they serve at panera bread, thats really good.
dootsie dootsie 8 years
Pringles has long held fast to the notion that their product is NOT a potato chip. They have called them crisps in the past in the US, but generally, they don't refer to them as ANYTHING--they just call them Pringles.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I've always considered them to be chips. You can find them in the chip/snack aisle.
kia kia 8 years
mark bittman was tweeting on this earlier this week and I was grossed out and found it funny. it is so ewwwww that pringles does not want them legally considered potatoes. hmmm. in the long run would that really help them sell these things?? but 42% it is, so tax on.
kcmosinki kcmosinki 8 years
what?!? i used to love pringles,but no more, i guess i never thought about how they got their curvy uniform shape. No more maltodextrim and dextrose for me thank you.
Food Food 8 years
DMT23, in the UK, chips are called "crisps."
cmill38 cmill38 8 years
This kind of freaks me out. I don't really eat chips, but I've had pringles at some point. And yeah really partysugar....How many other "chips" are not potatoes!
partysugar partysugar 8 years
This makes me wonder how much potato goes into other potato chips? Like how much do Lays and Kettle Chips have?
Pistil Pistil 8 years
I've always considered them chips. And I knew they were super-processed, but I didn't realized how little was actually potato... ick..
suziryder suziryder 8 years
Of course they're chips. They're potato-based (how gross that 60% of the chip is just filler! blech!), baked or fried, savory snacks. What else would you call them? What about Lays baked chips - they're reconstituted potatoes in an unnatural shape, but they're still chips, right? What are they going to argue next, that they're served in a tube and not a bag, so they're not chips? C'mon. They obviously are just trying to avoid paying taxes.
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