This Study Will Make You Question Every Bag of Chips You’ve Ever Eaten

A bag of chips are open
Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder

Last April, we wrote about two brave souls who got fed up with the amount of air in their bags of Wise chips and decided to do something about it.

Sameline Alce of New York and Desiré Nugent of Washington, D.C., wanted to make sure no one else would have to suffer the disappointment of opening a party-size bag of chips only to find there was barely enough for a proper solo Netflix binge.

They said no more and filed a lawsuit, but less than a year later, the lawsuit was dismissed.

While it’s debatable if Wise is a little overzealous with the air in its bags — it’s called slack fill and it’s actually nitrogen, not oxygen — the correct weight of the chips is clearly printed on the bags. A judge decided it’s not the chip company’s fault if consumers just grab the biggest bag they see without looking at the true weight of the chips inside.

Well, an unlikely hero has picked up the torch to continue the battle against slack fill: Kitchen Cabinet Kings, the self-proclaimed “premier source for bathroom and kitchen cabinets online.”

Not only do they care that your cabinets are sound, they apparently care just as deeply about what you put inside them.

Our hallowed courts of law refused to hold Big Chip accountable to consumers. So the Kitchen Cabinet Kings did a surprisingly in-depth experiment — seriously, why did they do this? — to figure out which chip brands give you the most crisps per bag and which are just gassing us up only to disappoint at snack time.

While we can’t say for sure why they did it, we Penny Hoarders are glad they did.

Here’s What We Learned From the Chip Bag Experiment

If you’re looking for a bag that’s filled to the brim with chips and zero slack fill, you won’t find it. Even the Wise chips lawsuit acknowledged that some air is necessary to make sure you don’t end up with a bag of crumbs.

But the Kitchen Cabinet Kings showed that the spread in slack fill is wide. The bags of Fritos that the company tested were only 19% air. Cheetos bags, on the other end of the spectrum, held 59% air.

“Perhaps it’s best to consider the average at 43%,” the experiment concluded. “Anything above that certainly seems like a rip off and anything below that is just a pleasant surprise.”

Fritos, Pringles and Tostitos were the top brands for those who want more chips for their money. All three come in containers that hold more chips than nitrogen.

Cheetos, Ruffles and Stacy’s pita chips all have 50% or more of their packages filled with nitrogen.

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite chips are Publix’s store brand salt-and-vinegar chips. Unfortunately, the Kitchen Cabinet Kings didn’t think to test those, so I don’t know where I stand on the chip-to-nitrogen battle royale.

While I appreciate their hard work, and would never underestimate the importance of an informed citizenry, I’ll probably keep buying the chips I like, not the ones with the least slack fill.

I mean, let’s be honest here, the slack-fill debate is nuanced but there is one thing that is clear: Fritos are gross.

Desiree Stennett (@desi_stennett) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She thinks all her jokes are hilarious.