Better-for-you potato chip producer banks on sweet success with expanded production

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Jackson's sweet potato chips are cooked in avo or coconut oil, known to provide a wealth of health benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Pic: Jackson's
Jackson's sweet potato chips are cooked in avo or coconut oil, known to provide a wealth of health benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Pic: Jackson's

Related tags Jackson's Chips Sweet potato avocado oil Coconut oil Heart health Gut health Fibre Potato chips Healthy snacks

Wisconsin kettle-cooked sweet potato chip expert Jackson’s has announced a plant expansion that will triple its production capacity, meaning it will use nearly one million pounds of heirloom sweet potatoes every week to produce its gut and heart healthy snacks (think fibre, beta carotene, antioxidants, vitamin A and health-promoting fatty acids).

Like many rags-to-riches accounts in the snacks sector, Jackson’s was started by Scott and Megan Reamer in 2012 to create a snack their entire family could enjoy, especially their son Jackson, who required a restrictive, low-inflammation diet due to a rare autoimmune disorder.

Unlike many in the industry, though, Jackson’s uses only non-GMO Beauregard and Covington sweet potatoes purchased directly from farmers across the country, which are kettle cooked in small batches in avocado or coconut oil.

Jackson's 2

All of Jackson’s products are free of the big nine allergens - milk, eggs, nuts, fish, crustaceans, shellfish, wheat, soy and sesame - and are compatible with all trending lifestyles, from AIP to Whole 30 and everything inbetween.

“From the start, we have only used non-GMO sweet potatoes sourced directly from farmers whose products are full of natural flavour, high in fibre and loaded with antioxidants,”​ said Megan Reamer.

“Hearty slices are cooked ‘low and slow’ to maintain the nutritional integrity and bring out the best flavour and texture of our chips and provide a crunchy, delicious snack people can feel better about eating.”

What 15 minutes of fame can do…

Jackson's Shark Tank

And like the selected few who have appeared on ‘Shark Tank’ with a standout product, the Reamers were given the opportunity to take their business to the next level in 2017 with a major cash injection from recurring guest and American businessman, investor and marketing expert behind several large brands, Rohan Oza.

Now, Jackson’s is adding an additional 10,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space to its Muskego-based plant, a mere two years after opening the state-of-the-art production facility touted as the first-of-its-kind dedicated to making sweet potato kettle chips.

Jackson’s CEO James Marino said investment is going towards two high-capacity kettles, as well as two additional high speed packaging lines and seasoning systems that will allow the company to nearly triple its pounds per hour production capacity and run up to four different products simultaneously.

The new kettles will be equipped with the latest tech, including features that will optimise usage of its featured ingredient - avocado oil.

“Adding the two new kettles means that we can process more than one million pounds of sweet potatoes each week and make more than 600,000 bags of kettle-cooked sweet potato chips a day,”​ said Marino.

He added the expansion - which is scheduled to be completed by early November - also allows the producer to quadruple its storage space and install a high-density, racking system.

Jackson's 1

Staffing the new extension will not be a problem, though, said Marino. In June, Jackson’s put in place a second, full-time production shift and added overtime to current contracts to counteract the additional work needed. However, Marino said Jackson’s will increase its staff content in order to meet increased consumer demands.

In just over a decade, Jackson’s has emerged from humble beginnings to become a major player in the US snacks sector, available at major retailers around the US, as well as in corporate foodservice, restaurants, and vending operations coast to coast. Jackson’s products also are available online and through Amazon.

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