Uglies Kettle Chips History and Mission

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?

26% of U.S. produce gets discarded because of cosmetic reasons

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!

30% of all food produced globally is wasted