I bet you can't eat just one.
September 27, 2010 1:04 PM   Subscribe

A few days ago, my husband brought home a bag of Archer Farms (Target brand) kettle-chips. The back of the bag said that they were prepared in "small batches." What is a small batch?

It seems like I see this frequently (well, as frequently as someone might who doesn't purchase processed foods very often).

So, what is a small batch? 1 bag at a time? 10 bags? 1000?

Why is this a selling point?
posted by LyndsayMW to Food & Drink (9 answers total)
It's basically meaningless, but is intended to imply that smaller production quantities involve more attention to quality.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:09 PM on September 27, 2010

LyndsayMW: What is a small batch?

Whatever you want it to be. That's the beauty of marketing.

LyndsayMW: Why is this a selling point?

It shortens the psychological distance between your product and "homemade".
posted by mkultra at 1:10 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Many potato chips are made in a continuous-run process where the chips move through a deep fryer on a processing line but there's no sense of a "batch" - it's just going as long as potatoes are coming in.

In this case they're doing them in discrete batches - they get a few hundred pounds of slides potatoes, drop them in a huge kettle of boiling oil, wait a while and then fish them out. But "small" is probably a bit of liberty the marketing dept has taken.
posted by GuyZero at 1:14 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

To give you an idea of what it looks like to mass produce potato chips as GuyZero describes: How It's Made.
posted by puritycontrol at 1:17 PM on September 27, 2010

Probably, they are pointing out that they are produced in individual runs of chips, as opposed to the continuous 24-hour river-of-chips method used by the big brands. Still, in this usage, "small batch" is meaningless, as anything less than 24-7 production could, in a marketer's eyes, be considered a small batch.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:37 PM on September 27, 2010

"Small-batch" is often used to describe high-end bourbons, so (at least for me) I would tend to associate the term with something rare/expensive/high quality. Of course, the chip-making process and the bourbon-distilling process are totally unrelated, but it sounds fancy and might make people forget they're buying store brand potato chips.
posted by SuperNova at 1:58 PM on September 27, 2010

Here in Britain we have 'limited edition' crisps .. manufactured in a limited edition of, er, 700,000 packets.
posted by verstegan at 2:05 PM on September 27, 2010

I think Archer Farms sarsaparilla soda (when you can get it, which isn't often) says the same thing on the label. It's probably just an Archer Farms thing that ends up on a lot of their products.
posted by cropshy at 3:23 PM on September 27, 2010

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