Well, in the ongoing Chip Wars saga that isn’t ruffling as many feathers as I’d like (yet), we have a letter to & response from Utz:
From: ERiC AiXeLsyD firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Saturday, July 03, 2010
To: info; Nutrition; tours
Subject: Crab flavored chips? Ah! (&) A tour sounds nice…
I’m writing to you today to tell you how much I enjoy Utz snacks… or rather, how much I hope to continue enjoying them! I generally seem to buy Utz chips when we’re at Sheetz. Sheetz is a damn fine establishment, don’t you think? Although, I must confess, I have a love for Snyder of Berlin Honey Bar-B-Q chips and Herr’s Ketchup flavored chips that I sometimes have to fulfill at Sheetz. I have yet to try your Grandma’s Handcooked Chips, but look forward to purchasing a bag in the near future. Well, hopefully. I’m sure this is cryptic to you by now, so I’ll try to do my best to explain.
There was an article the other day on Yahoo! mentioning the “best” chips, and they didn’t happen to mention any of my favorite brands. The article was a sham, I tell you. So, I started researching my own favorite chip brands… to compile my own (much more accurate) list. In looking at your site, I discovered that you have “crab” flavored chips, and my heart nearly stopped. You see, my friends, I have a severe allergy to shellfish. I can become violently ill and go into anaphylactic shock just by eating some food that simply came into contact witht he same cooking surface or prep area as things like shrimp, crab, oysters, lobster, crayfish, clams, mussels, or calamari.
Are all of your flavors of chips processed on the same line? Do you use just the crab juice to flavor your chips, or is it ground up pieces of crab meat? Who on earth would want to eat crab flavored chips? I ask because as I’m sure you’re aware, there are new regulations regarding disclosing the top allergens on food packaging, and I don’t recall any warning on your product packaging indicating that “THIS PRODUCT WAS MANUFACTURED IN A FACILITY THAT ALSO PROCESSES WHEAT, SOY, PEANUT, AND SHELLFISH INGREDIENTS” or anything of that sort.
I would like to continue enjoying your fine snacks, but you must understand that I cannot take the risk if there are crabs lurking around! Do you have them in tanks there at the factory? Oh, I shudder at the imagery! You must imagine that for me, seeing a lobster tank at the grocery store is like anyone else walking into a mine field!
My wife and I enjoy factory tours… I see form your website that you started about the same time as Snyder’s of Hanover, and you’re located in the same town. Do you guys have a friendly rivalry, or is it bitter like Coca~Cola & Pepsi? Do you order pizzas to each others’ office buildings leaving the other stuck with the tab? For some reason, they seem to passively-aggressively hate on Snyder of Berlin on their product packaging. I bet you’re glad the don’t say “SNYDER’S OF HANOVER IS IN NO WAY ASSOCIATED WITH SNYDER OF BERLIN OR UTZ, ALSO OF HANOVER.” I wonder what the deal with that is? It’s crazy. At any rate, if we’re ever in the area, I’d very much like to tour both facilities! One of our goals is to get to the Yuengling Brewery tour in Pottsville. Perhaps we can stop in Hanover on our way over from Pittsburgh and make a weekend out of it! It’s only about 2 hours form your location, right? Maybe we can take in some Pennsylvania Dutch culture out that way too.
Oh well, I’d like to find out more about your fine chips, crab flavoring, and product labeling. I look forward to hearing from you, hopefully this email finds you well after a great holiday weekend!
P.S. – Is it “Uhtz” or “Ootz”? I’ve been saying the former, but wondering if it’s the latter.
P.P.S – Who is the girl on the bag?
Similar to my other messages, only slightly different. Their response:
from Pam Berwager email@example.com
date Tue, Jul 13, 2010
subject FW: Crab flavored chips? Ah! (&) A tour sounds nice…
Dear Mr. Aixelsyd:
Thank you for your email regarding our Crab Chips. First, let me say that we do not have any shellfish in our plant, nor is there shellfish in our Crab Chips. It is strictly seasoning. Did you ever have Bay Seasoning? Marylanders us this all the time. They are quite popular, and we receive many compliments on them. The ingredients are listed on the bag and all the nutrition information is listed on our website at www.utzsnacks.com. Just click on the nutrition bag at the top. Our bags are listed with allergy information and most state they are gluten free. The ingredients are potatoes, cottonseed oil, salt, spices, dextrose, paprika, maltodextrin, sugar, onion powder, honey powder (maltodextrin, honey), disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, citric acid. The maltodextrin is derived from corn. Contains no hydrogenated fats. This is a gluten free food.
We also invite you to visit our free, self-guided tour of our potato chip making facility.
Pamela J. Berwager
Utz Quality Foods, Inc.
Customer Care Representative
800-367-7629, ext. 263
“Check out our Facebook page under ‘Little Utz Girl’ and our blog at utzsnackcentral.com to find out what’s happening at Utz.”
No correction of my pronunciation? No acknowledgment of Snyder vs. Snyder’s? No telling me about the creepy girl on the bag? At least I got assurance of what I already knew… that there are no crab guts on the chips. The crab on the packaging still gives me the heebie-jeebies. No comments on Sheetz? I hope she’s not a Wawa loyalist.
I also like how she explains that maltodextrin is from corn and doesn’t explain disodium inosinate or disodium guanylate. I don’t know if it’s just fancy names for salt, or something I’d rather not know about anyway.
I believe that this needs further pressing.