Sucheta Dalal :The Lay of chip land
Sucheta Dalal

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The Lay of chip land  

January 11, 2006

CERC tested 17 brands of Potato and Banana Chips and found high fat and sodium in many and false claims in some.


Insight — The Consumer Magazine (January-February 2006) published by the Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), Ahmedabad published the test findings of its in-house comparative product testing laboratory on 17 brands of chips — ten brands of potato chips and seven of banana chips.


Read on to find that while Lays are the best-buy, home made are probably the best.


Best Buys

Insight recommends Lays as the "best buy" among the national brands of potato chips and Sushma among the regional brands. Among the regional brands of banana chips, A-1 and Balaji were equally good, though A-1 was lower in price by Rs. 1.50 per 100 gm.


High Fat Content

The fat content was substantially above the range of 15-35 per cent specified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in all except one brand of potato chips (Lays). Among the potato chips brands, Sushma and Samrat recorded the highest fat content at 44 per cent. Among the banana chips, again Sushma contained the highest amount of fat at 40 per cent.


High Sodium

The sodium content was also very high in most brands of potato chips and some brands of banana chips. According to UK’s Food Standards Agency sodium content in chips should not be more than 550 mg per 100 gm.


Among the potato chips brands, Uncle Chipps revealed the highest sodium content of 775 mg per 100 gm, followed by Lays with 737 mg. Among the banana chips, Sushma recorded the highest sodium content of 790 mg, followed by Samrat at 668 mg.


Both high fat and high sodium contents have adverse implications for health. While people know that chips are not a health food, higher than recommended fat and sodium levels are a bigger cause for concern.



The moisture content was found to be higher than the limit in Induben Khakhrawala (C.G. Road, Ahmedabad) potato chips (4.5 per cent) against the Standard maximum of 3 per cent which could lead to spoilage.


Acid Value

The acid value of extracted fat was higher than the stipulated limit of 2 in one brand of banana chips — Induben Kela Wafer (Mithakhali, Ahmedabad) at 4, which indicates staleness and inferior quality.



Balaji and Lays potato chips contained the maximum amount of protein (7 per cent), Lays the most carbohydrate content (55 per cent) and Samrat and Sushma the maximum amount of energy (590 Kcal per 100 gm). Samrat, Balaji and Induben banana chips had the maximum protein content (3 per cent), Sree Ram the most carbohydrate content (63 per cent) and Sushma the maximum amount of energy (570 Kcal per 100 gm).


Sensory Scores

The chips were tested for the following parameters — appearance, texture, flavour, mouthfeel and taste, and after-taste. In the sensory analysis, among the potato chips, Uncle Chipps topped the list with a score of 76.8 per cent. Among the banana chips, Sree Ram was liked the most with a score of 68.2 per cent.


While studying the correlationship between chemical and sensory scores for potato chips, we found that although Sushma and Samrat had high chemical scores, Uncle Chipps topped in sensory followed by Lays. A preference for a brand of chips is largely a matter of taste.


Unjust Enrichment

Five brands were found not complying with the Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977, with the net weight lower than the maximum permissible error limit. These were — Sushma, Samrat and O.K. potato chips, and Jalsa and Induben banana chips.


In addition to these five, eight brands were found to have packets weighing less than the labelled weight. No consumer should have to pay for a quantity he does not receive. In contrast, the net weights of all the packets checked of two brands of potato chips — Lays and Induben — were more than the labelled weight.


The maximum retail prices (MRPs) and packing sizes of different brands varied widely. There is need for standardisation in packing size so that consumers can easily compare the prices of different brands.



Four brands of potato chips (Induben, Camy, O.K. and Kailash) and four brands of banana chips (A-1, Sree Ram, Jalsa and Induben) did not comply with the PFA Act’s labelling requirements.


Home-made Chips

We tested two samples of home-made chips for fat and sodium content. The fat content was 27.2 per cent and 25.8 per cent — much lower than that of ready-to-eat chips. Similarly, the sodium content was only 240.7 mg and 298.8 mg per 100 gm. The results indicate that home-made chips are better for health.


Claims vs Facts

Haldiram claimed that the chips had low fat content though the fat content found was 37 per cent of mass which is more than the limit of 35 per cent. Similarly, Balaji potato chips claimed: "Least oil for your healthy heart". However, the fat content was 38 per cent.


Fun Facts

Did you know that the world’s largest potato chip is 2" thick and 14.5" long? Or that Detroit in the US is the potato chip capital of the world based on consumption? Our feature on chips covers these and other interesting tidbits.

You will also get to know about the danger of acrylamide, a chemical known to cause cancer, which is formed when starchy foods are baked or fried at high temperatures.


As a policy, the test results are conveyed to all the manufacturers for their views and comments. All manufacturers receive the results of their own product only. Details of rating and ranking and excerpts of correspondence with the manufacturers have been published in the January-February 2006 issue of Insight.


Date: 11/01/2006                                                     Pritee Shah

Place: Ahmedabad                                                  Editor - Insight


Annexure: Test Results of Potato and Banana Chips



There are no Standards in the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (PFA) for chips as it is a proprietary product. We tested them against the voluntary BIS standards — IS 12575: 1989 for fried potato chips and IS 12574: 1989 for fried banana chips. Sensory characteristics are also covered in the Standards. Packets of none of the brands carried the ISI mark. The PFA Act should incorporate mandatory Standards for potato and banana chips as this would lead to better quality control.


Brands Tested

The brands tested were:

Potato Chips — Balaji, Haldiram’s Halke Fulke, Sushma, Samrat, Lays, Uncle Chipps, Kailash Parbat, O.K., Camy and Induben Khakhrawala (C.G. Road, Ahmedabad)

Banana Chips — Samrat, Sushma, Sree Ram, Jalsa Foods, A-1 Kairali, Balaji and Induben Kela Wafer (Mithakhali, Ahmedabad).


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-- Sucheta Dalal