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ISM/ProSweets 2017

Soviet era’s Long Chips’ journey of endurance

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Gill Hyslop

By Gill Hyslop+

17-Feb-2017
Last updated on 17-Feb-2017 at 12:57 GMT2017-02-17T12:57:35Z

A novel Latvian snack, Long Chips has survived the collapse of the Soviet Union and is today building its export market. Pic: Pernes L Ltd

A novel Latvian snack, Long Chips has survived the collapse of the Soviet Union and is today building its export market. Pic: Pernes L Ltd

Pernes L’s Latvian snack, Long Chips, survived the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and today is available in over 25 countries.

The unusual chips, made with potato flakes that are extruded into long sheets and flash fried for 10 seconds in rape seed oil – making it a very “clean” product -  were first created in Latvia in 1986.

Back then, the product did not have a brand name and was “owned” by the centralized government.

The long journey

 

The original packaging

Despite the Union’s demise and the subsequent bankruptcy of many of the chip factories, the product survived and was becoming increasingly popular with the locals.

So, in 1992, private company, Pernes L Ltd, was established to manage the growing production; factories were rebuilt and equipped with automated lines; and export commenced to a few of the neighbouring countries.

Plates of fun

 

The chips were first branded Plāksnes (translating as “plates”) in 1997, and rebranded Long Chips in 2013.

Kristaps Radzins, export manager of Pernes L Ltd, told BakeryandSnacks, the company was exhibiting at ISM in Cologne, Germany, in February, to extend the footprint of the unique brand.

“In 2010, we attended shows like SIAL and Anuga, essentially to look for products to import into the Baltics, because we had our own logistics and wanted to extend our product range beyond Long Chips.

“That’s when we found out that people were interested in selling Long Chips in their own countries, so we developed our export brand,” he said.

Today, the company exports 15 flavors, including bacon, horseradish, wasabi, hot chilli and sea salt, to 25 countries around the world.

The entire range is made from GMO-free ingredients.

“Because of the shape and the different ingredients we use to create Long Chips, it’s a very different snacking experience,” said Radzins.

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