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Home / Food Packaging / Why Are Potato Chip Bags Filled with Air?

Why Are Potato Chip Bags Filled with Air?


You know you’ve been there: You open a potato chip bag only to hear a loud pop and air release, and then you look down and the chips take up a mere fraction of the bag. This has probably left you with all kinds of questions, such as, “What air is in a potato chip bag?” “Why do bags of chips have air in them?” and “How much air is in a potato chip bag?” Now is the day you get answers.

What Air Is in a Potato Chip Bag?

Before we get into why bags of chips are filled with air, let’s talk about what is actually being used. The secret ingredient that you refer to as air is actually nitrogen gas. Regular air contains all kinds of particles, including oxygen and water vapor, both of which will cause the chips to rapidly decay. So food manufacturers displace the oxygen and water vapor with nitrogen to make the food more shelf stable. This process is often referred to as Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) and helps foods to maintain their quality.

Why Do Bags of Chips Have Air in Them?

We have briefly answered the question, “Why are potato chip bags filled with air?” but now it’s time to break it down into more detail. These are the main reasons why bags of chips have nitrogen in them:

  • It gives the chips a longer shelf life. Bacteria need oxygen to thrive, and if all of the oxygen is removed, it can’t grow. This means there is no chance of mold, mildew, or other substances showing up on the chips.
  • It keeps away moisture. In addition to oxygen, moisture is an enemy of potato chips. By filling every last ounce of space with nitrogen, water vapor will not be able to enter the bag, and the chips will stay nice and crispy until you are ready to eat them.
  • It keeps the chips whole. Finally, bags of chips have nitrogen in them to act as a barrier as the chips are being transported from the manufacturing facility to the store and from the store to your home. The nitrogen acts like a pillow, buffering out any impact so it keeps the chips intact.

How Much Air Is in A Potato Chip Bag?

The answer to this question can vary quite a bit. However, products are supposed to list the actual net weight of their product on the packaging, so you will know exactly how much you are getting. So instead of looking at the size of the bag, pay attention to the net weight of the chips inside.

Even though it may seem like the nitrogen in a potato chip bag is only there to deceive you, it actually serves a very important purpose: to protect the chips from being crushed or going bad. It is especially effective because it does not impact the taste or texture at all.

If you manufacturer potato chips and you want to make sure you always have enough nitrogen to keep things moving, contact us today. With our on site nitrogen gas generators, you will never run out of the nitrogen gas you need to keep your chips in tip-top shape.