The Pringles Defense

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A recent court case in England might not debunk every urban legend about Pringles, but it is revealing about the “potato” chip in the iconic can: turns out Pringles don’t count as “crisps” in Britain because they are made from less than 50 percent potatoes.

While suspected by most reasonable people to be the case, the ingredient revelation came as evidence in a recent British tax law case in which Pringles owner Proctor and Gamble argued that its product should be exempt from the so-called Value Added Tax normally applied to potato chips (crisps, as they call them there) because, according to the Times Online,

Pringles have a potato content of about 42 per cent. “As a result, this appeal is allowed because regular Pringles are not, on the facts found, ‘made from the potato, or from potato flour, or from potato starch’ within the legal requirement and are exempt from VAT,” [Mr Justice Warren] said.

In addition, Proctor and Gamble argued that Pringles act differently in the mouth than regular chips/crisps, and have a shape, “not found in nature.” To be fair, we’ve never seen a Pringles ad claiming they are full of potatoey goodness, though they are sold on Amazon (for $17.56!) as “Pringles Potato Crisps.” Somebody wants it both ways, no? Surely, this ruling will cause Proctor And Gamble to retire that packaging, so fans of collectible food containers should maybe put in an insanely overpriced order or two.

Fry and Fry Again [About.com]
Pringles are not chips in England [Slashfood]
Crunch decision goes against taxmen as court rules a Pringle is not a crisp [Times Online]
Pringles Potato Crisps [Amazon]

[Photo: Pringles German Sausage flavor. There was doubt these are not an actual potato product? Via Jetalone/flickr]

The Pringles Defense