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Cape Cod Potato Chips facts for kids

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Cape Cod Potato Chips
Industry Snack foods
Founded July 4, 1980
Founder Steve Bernard
Headquarters ,
Parent Snyder's-Lance

Cape Cod Potato Chips is a snack food company most famously known for their brand of kettle-cooked potato chips. The company is headquartered in Hyannis, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. Cape Cod Potato Chips is a subsidiary of Snyder's-Lance.

Cape Cod potato chips 2
Image of Cape Cod brand potato chips (40% reduced fat variety), January 2016

The company's logo is a woodcut of Nauset Light with the company name in the Caslon Antique font.


Cape Cod Potato Chips was founded in 1980 by Steve Bernard and his brother, Jude, with the idea of offering healthier foods made with little processing. Steve's wife, Lynn had opened the store, Ardklin Natural Foods, in Harwich in the 1970s. Bernard lamented the lack of healthy snacks. He pursued adding potato chips to the mix after tasting a natural potato chip from a successful company based in Hawaii. In 1980, he sold his auto parts business in for a potato chip business. He bought an 800-square-foot (74 m2) storefront in Hyannis, Massachusetts, in a prime place to reach tourists, as well as an industrial potato slicer for $3,000. He had almost no knowledge of the snack food business other than what he learned in a week-long course on potato chip making at Martin's Potato Chips in Thomasville, Pennsylvania.

Nauset Light, Eastham, MA, Cape Cod
Nauset Light (2015), the inspiration for the company's logo

Unlike typical commercial brands made using a continuous frying process, in which potato slices travel through a tub of oil on a conveyor belt, Cape Cod chips are cooked in batches in kettles, frying them in a shallow vat in oil while stirring with a rake, producing a crunchier chip. Snack Food Association president James A. McCarthy noted that Bernard "didn't invent the kettle chip, but he was involved in bringing it back to prominence." Before the 1920s, this was the way potato chips had been made.

The company struggled for months after it opened on July 4, 1980. The following winter a car crashed through the front window of the store, just missing Steve's daughter and wife. An insurance payment and publicity from the accident helped tide the company over until the following summer, by which time sales were substantial, and the company's chips were being sold through a number of supermarket chains.

The company was acquired by Anheuser-Busch in 1985, and operated as a division of its Eagle Snacks unit. Sales of the chips were up to 80,000 bags a day by the end of the following year, reaching the entire East Coast, with sales of $16 million annually. Bernard bought the company and its factory back from Anheuser-Busch in 1996. Snack food company Lance Inc. bought the company from Bernard in 1999, by which time annual sales had reached $30 million. In 2010, Lance Inc. merged with Snyder's of Hanover. The Campbell Soup Co. would later go on to acquire Snyder's of Hanover in December 2017.

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