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Uglies makes rejected potatoes stylishly sustainable

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A sustainable Cinderella story: Unusual Uglies potato chips transform a food waste problem into a feel-good solution.

Snacks’ amusing packaging design enhances an on-trend twist: Off-spec potatoes are given new life in a value-added way that reduces food waste and consumer costs.

It’s said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so it is for Uglies potato chips from Dieffenbach’s Potato Chips Inc., Womelsdorf, PA. The brand’s proposition is simple: Turning off-spec potatoes that would otherwise be discarded into edible snacks that boldly proclaim their flaws to help reduce food waste and save everyone money.

Uglies were introduced in mid-January at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, an eight-day event that drew more than a half-million visitors, to leverage the unique tie-in to farmers.

“This new brand is using potatoes that farmers would likely be throwing away due to minor imperfections,” says Nevin Dieffenbach, owner and CEO. “Because of this, we’re able to pass on the savings to our customers, and everyone feels like they’ve done some good.”

Uglies debuted in three flavors, sea salt, barbecue and salt & vinegar.

“No one else is making kettle chips with these potatoes,” points out Mike Marlowe, chief operating officer. Marlowe responds to our questions about the unique product with the fascinating packaging design.

How did the Uglies idea originate?

Marlowe: Our founder had always used potatoes like these to make a product he called “factory seconds.” He thought it was wasteful to be throwing these potatoes away simply because they had a few cosmetic imperfections. He would cook these potatoes using the same kettle chip recipe and package them in a plain bag and labeled them as “Factory Seconds” to sell at a discount. Customers loved the product and before long he was taking in imperfect potatoes from other local chip manufactures, so the idea for Uglies in some ways was born 50+ years ago.

What sparked the resurrection of…

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