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When Did Snacks Start Being Mass-Produced?

Believe it or not, there was a time when nearly every snack was handcrafted with personalized care. If you ask us, those were the glory days of snacking. Every brand had a distinct taste and flavor all its own. Today, mass-produced snacks have taken over shelves in every grocery store. No matter what sweet or salty snack you pull off the shelf, they all resemble each other. We’re not saying they taste bad, but mass-producing snacks removes the unique quality that small mom-and-pop shops still possess.

In this blog, we’ll reveal some of the very first mass-produced snacks in America, how these snacks have affected smaller businesses, and why USA Snax chooses to support small local companies from different states instead of putting cheaper, mass-produced snacks in our boxes.

So, when exactly did businesses start mass-producing their snacks and how has it affected smaller businesses?

Pioneers of Mass-Produced Snacks

To no surprise, one of the first mass-produced candy bars was Hershey’s Chocolate. Legend has it, Milton Hershey was at the Chicago World Fair in 1893 that featured chocolate-making machines. Being the innovator that he is, Milton Hershey took notice. One year later (1894), Hershey’s Chocolate bars were sold across America, initiating the uproar of the mass-produced candy bar.

The mass-production of potato chips has two influential pioneers. A California entrepreneur named Laura Scudder began selling potato chips in wax paper bags that were sealed with a warm iron to reduce crumbling while keeping the chips fresh. This innovative packaging method allowed for the mass-production of snacks for the first time in 1926.

Also during the 1920s, a North Carolina businessman, Herman Lay, began to sell potato chips out of the trunk of his car all across the south in the same wax paper bags that Laura Scudder made famous. By 1938, Lay’s brand potato chips went into mass production and became the first successful nationally marketed potato chip brand.

How Has This Affected Small Snack Companies?

Jones Potato Chips Logo

The mass production of potato chips drove many small snack companies out of business in the 1940s. This was almost true for Jones’ Potato Chips (featured in our April 2020 Ohio box). In the beginning, Fredrick Jones, owner of Jones’ Potato Chips, cooked his potato chips by hand in a kettle, lifted out of the hot oil in a basket and spread out on a counter to be cooled and salted. The chips would then be put in a wax paper bag, stapled shut, put into cartons, then delivered to local stores.

Jones firmly believed that maintaining a close relationship with the local stores that purchased his chips and producing a high-quality product would help his company get through the up-start of mass-produced potato chips. Jones was quoted as saying, “Stores sell potato chips one package at a time and customers eat potato chips one package at a time.” Jones wanted each bag that is sold to be savored and enjoyed.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that Jones’ Potato Chips started using automated equipment to keep up with the local demand. Fredrick, his wife Elaine, and all six of their children have worked for the business. To this day, Jones’ Potato Chips strives to maintain a family atmosphere while staying close with their customers.

USA Snax

Support Small Businesses

At USA Snax, nearly all of the snacks in our boxes come from small, locally-based businesses that produce delicious treats. Jones’ Potato Chips is just one of the many examples of tasty, unique and flavorful snacks we’ve put in our boxes. You’ve probably never heard of most of the snacks we offer, making this a great opportunity to try something new while supporting small businesses across the United States!

Source: candyfavorites, thoughtco, joneschips