With a heritage that runs over 5 decades in the food manufacturing industry, we’ve seen a lot. From our modest beginnings of crafting chips on a kitchen stove, constructing home-made kettle cookers, eventually expanding to a slightly more spacious garage—to our present-day 106,000 sq. ft. modern production facility and improved manufacturing processes—you could say that growth and progress sounded great, but over the years we noticed a disturbing industry trend.
Flash back to 1945, when the USDA set grades and standards for fruits and vegetables that defined what “perfect produce” is to the fruit, vegetable and specialty crop growers and buyers. Although the standards are voluntary, produce that doesn’t meet these standards gets rejected. We’ve become accustomed to expecting our tomatoes to be perfectly round, our vegetables symmetrical, and our fruit unblemished…right?
Over the years, these expectations have driven up the costs of produce and, in part, gave way to manufacturers accepting and using only “perfect” potatoes that met their exacting standards. That meant a lot of “imperfect” potatoes were being discarded and ultimately wasted. Food waste aside, it also hurts farmers who’s time, effort and lost revenue also ends up rotting in landfills, something we saw as very WRONG!
We felt an obligation to help and, as a problem solver we found a way. So, in 2017 we decided that we were going to go above and beyond to reduce waste by purchasing potatoes with slight imperfections—potatoes that are too large or too small; those with the wrong color or have the wrong sugar content. Some of the potatoes are slightly blemished and, of course, some are just farmer surplus. Not good enough for other brands, but PERFECTLY UGLY for us!
MEET 4C FARMS…
In the summer of 2021, 4C farms located in East Palatka, Florida raised a field of potatoes that couldn’t be sold due to a rainy season resulting in higher sugar content and would be left in the field to rot, creating hundreds of pounds of food waste. Uglies jumped in the truck and drove down to Florida to purchase the potatoes that would have otherwise been discarded.
Potatoes saved. Farms and jobs supported.
BUT, WE STILL WEREN’T DONE…
Reducing food waste is a step in the right direction but there was still more on our minds. Ever since a young Mark Dieffenbach started the business more than fifty years ago, Dieffenbach’s has been committed to helping children and giving back to the community. Sadly, at the same time we were cooking up the idea for using “imperfect” potatoes for our new product line, world hunger was at an all time high—providing us with the push to continue the tradition through the new brand.
* Potatoes saved as of 06/2022
VivaKids is a religious-based organization that provides support to local organizations in the developing world that provide a safe place to meet the children’s spiritual, educational, medical and nutritional needs, which result in breaking the cycle of poverty that is prevalent in these communities. Their mission: To Raise Awareness That Leads to Action.
By partnering with a proactive organization like VivaKids, we are able to make a realistic impact on the problem. But our partnership with VivaKids, goes beyond monetary support as team members periodically participate at VivaKids supported centers and we also donate 10% of the profits from every bag sold to VivaKids.
MAKING AN IMPACT…
To-date, Uglies contributions to VivaKids has helped the organization with:
Are the costs that the centers incur on a monthly basis to keep the center running. These costs included teacher and staff salaries, food for the children, utilities, supplies, books, preventative facility maintenance.
Cover the facilities, equipment and building expansion or upgrades including new computers for the lab, desks for classrooms, adding classrooms to the technical center, and similar projects.
Through Uglies donations, the organization was able to purchase a utility truck used to deliver clean water to a community as well as used to transport food from the warehouse to the center as needed.
PANDEMIC FOOD DRIVE
With the help of Uglies Kettle Chips, VivaKids conducted a food drive during the Covid-19 pandemic for 125 families that has a child at a center in the Dominican Republic.
SO, HERE WE ARE…
Uglies Kettle Chips was born out of the mission of creating the best tasting kettle-cooked chips, while cultivating a purpose and supporting a cause. Nobody’s perfect…and neither are we…but our lacking in the looks department is more than made up for in TASTE…and giving back.
Naturally imperfect. Honestly delicious…and so much better for the world!
Thank you for supporting Uglies Kettle Chips and our mission to reduce food waste, support farmers and fight childhood hunger!