The annoying air in the potato chip bag is actually nitrogen

It’s happened to all of us. You pay $4.00 or more for a bag of chips, pull apart the bag, and are forced to look deep inside for your tasty treasure. Instead of filling up the entire bag, the chips are lying innocently at the bottom and the rest of your bag was air…or was it? The truth is, there’s a really good reason for this minor annoyance.

Here’s why: some foods such as beef jerky are vacuum sealed during packing and shipping, and this is fine because of its ‘sturdy’ nature. But just try vacuum sealing a bag of chips and you won’t be a happy camper when you’re ready to snack (they’ll all be broken!). So, foods such as chips need a cushion to ensure they’re whole and crispy when you buy them. But pumping the bag full of air won’t work. Why? When processed foods such as chips are exposed to oxygen, the food breaks down and becomes rancid.

That’s why nitrogen is used. “Nitrogen flushing” is a process whereby all the air is removed from the bag and replaced with nitrogen gas. The nitrogen does not affect the taste of the food and does not react with it like oxygen does, so the food stays fresher longer. And, since the nitrogen gas fills up the bag, the contents inside are protected during shipping.

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