Our story so far
1853Long ago, before the days of KETTLE® Chips, the very first potato chips were created in Saratoga Springs, New York, by Moon Lake House chef George Crum. Frustrated by a customer rejecting his fries for being “too thick”,the chef reacted by frying paper-thin slices of potato to make them impossible to eat with a fork. To Crum’s surprise, the customer was delighted with his accidental invention and word of this delicious new discovery soon spread.
1978Cameron Healy founded Kettle Foods in Salem, Oregon, USA with the aim of providing high quality, naturally sourced products. Starting with nothing more than an old van and a vision to make great tasting less processed foods, Cameron took to the road selling cheese and roasted nuts to natural food stores.
1982Kettle Foods was ticking over nicely, but it was the moment Cameron first sampled the delights of homemade potato chips on a Hawaiian beach, that changed everything. Once home he immediately began experimenting with traditional chip production methods. It took a while to perfect the process but soon KETTLE® Chips was born.
1987While on a six week motorcycle adventure through Europe, Cameron and his son discovered the British love of crisps, prompting him to establish Kettle Foods in the UK.
1988Kettle Foods is launched! We chose Norfolk as our home in order to be as close as possible to many of our potato growers. Our first home was actually the corner of an old converted shoe factory in Norwich, ... and so from humble beginnings the first KETTLE® Chips were produced in the UK.
1989While dining at Norfolk Broads restaurant Bennigan's, Cameron Healy got talking to owner and chef Chris Barnard and in him recognised a true passion for authentic foods and ingredients. Sharing Cameron's vision, Chris soon packed up his utensils and recipe books to join us in setting up the UK branch of Kettle Foods.
Ever since then Chris has put his considerable talents and experience into coming up with all our recipes, as well as painstakingly sourcing every last ingredient.
1993With sales of KETTLE® Chips on the rise we bid farewell to our initial home, settling into our own factory on the outskirts of Norwich, where you can still find us to this day.
1997The launch of one of our seasoning mainstays - the now classic Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar . It wasn't easy - the search for the perfect ingredients took us far and wide across Europe, but we're sure you'll agree it was worth it!
1998Christmas saw the launch of the first ever KETTLE® Chips Seasonal Edition, Blue Stilton & Port. Only in shops from October to December, this new seasoning was an instant hit and is still fondly remembered by KETTLE® Chip devotees.
1999Spurred on by the success of Blue Stilton & Port, we decided to make seasonal editions a regular thing, launching New Season Potatoes with Butter & Mint in the summer of 1999. This was followed by the welcome return of Blue Stilton & Port in time for Christmas, which also netted us a Gold in the Great Taste Awards.
2003The KETTLE® Chips range extended beyond purely potatoes, with the introduction of Golden Parsnips Chips and Sweet Potato Chips. As with our potatoes, we’ve gone to great lengths to select vegetable varieties that offer the finest taste and texture.
2005A busy year. It didn't start well, with a fire causing serious damage to the factory, but thanks to the dedication and determination of our staff we were up and running after only a week.
Staff then set out to spread the word of our phoenix-like rebirth in the most fitting way we could think of - in tribute to our founder we hit the UK highways in a camper van led convoy, giving out free samples to anyone we met.
We also rebranded all KETTLE® Chips packaging for the first time in our 16 year history, to reinforce our position as the UK's first and foremost hand-cooked chip.
2006Having established a strong and lasting legacy in the KETTLE® Chips brand, our original founders decided it was time to move on to pastures new. Our new owners recognised that consumers would increasingly care about the products they eat and where the ingredients had come from. To this day we have continued to operate with these same principles and a passion for making simple great tasting chips.
2008A landmark year. Not only were we the 6th fastest growing grocery brand in the UK, but were also identified as one of the country's Top 100 Grocery Brands (source: The Grocer). We were also fortunate to be acknowledged with a Gold Award in the Food & Drink Federation Community Partnership Awards. This meant a lot to our staff.
It was the 21st birthday of Kettle Foods Ltd UK!
Other good news for the year included the announcement that KETTLE® Chips made it on to the prestigious CoolBrands list for 2009/10, as voted for by an expert council (including journalist Damian Barr and fashion designer Ben de Lisi) and 2,458 members of the public.
We wanted to share our latest news with you as we have recently been acquired by Diamond Foods from the US. Diamond manufacture and sell culinary nuts and snacks, if you have ever visited the US you may have even seen some of their brands: Emerald® snack nuts and Pop Secret® microwave popcorn. We are really excited about our future with Diamond as we share the same passion for making great tasting, quality products.
In 2011 we ran an advertising campaign in the national quality press to reinforce KETTLE® Chips' brand status as The hand-cooked chip. The advertising showed ingredients illustrated by hand prints.
An innovative partnership with Lovefilm.com also ran through the year to promote our new KETTLE® Ridge Crisps as the perfect snack for a movie night in. In addition we worked with Ben Collins (ex-The Stig) in the specifically created "Wallop to London Dodgem Derby" where four purple dodgem cars raced in a contest of skill to bring to life the product proposition of 'Ridged for extra wallop!'
In 2012 we celebrated KETTLE® Chips' 30th Birthday by re-introducing Sea Salt, Rosemary & Garlic and Blue Stilton & Port for a limited period – these are two of our classic seasonings which came out top in a consumer online poll.
In addition, we launched a new range of KETTLE® Tortilla Chips – 4 great tasting products made without the use of artificial ingredients to deliver a true taste of Mexico to enjoy at home. And we were proud to be the only premium snack named as a 2012 Superbrand.
2013 was another busy year… we launched a new packaging design for KETTLE® Chips which re-introduced an illustration of a man hand cooking, conveying the care and attention that goes into making every bag. This was supported by press advertising, hand-crafted by embroidery artist Lou Gardiner, to reinforce the authentic and traditional nature of our products, and a PR campaign involving Kirstie Allsopp.
In November, we set 10 authentic craftspeople from across the UK, including KETTLE® Head Chef Chris Barnard, the challenge to create handmade items that would combine to create a beautifully crafted dinner table – from the table itself, to the benches, the knife and the cheese board. The catch? The craftspeople had only 12 hours to produce their item, and with the process documented on camera to create our new #LovinglyCrafted TV ad.
2014 has already got off to an exciting start at KETTLE® HQ. In January we launched our new KETTLE® Baked Chips handy packs, deliciously oven baked Chips with all the flavour you would expect but with less than 100 calories per pack.
New KETTLE® Chips Sea Salt with a Hint of Citrus Lemon and Sea Salt with a Hint of Rosemary have also hit stores, perfect for consumers looking for a more subtle flavour hit.
March saw the launch of our new seasonal edition Lime & Black Pepper, ideal for the barbecue and picnic season this Summer, and our new Baked Sweet Potato range, a deliciously crisp alternative to regular crisps with 50% less fat than fried vegetable crisps.