Nice, all those technological developments. But in the nibble industry, that’s where really radical innovations took place, Thomas just wants to say.

    Thomas van LuynJune 25, 202205:00

    Perhaps it is time for a reappraisal of what the Netherlands really excels at: pretzel innovation. The silent revolution in the home snack industry is easy to overlook compared to other developments of the past fifty years. Blinded as many were by the succession of the video recorder, the computer, the mobile phone and the smartphone, few media paid attention to the radical innovations that were taking place on the supermarket shelves next to the soft drinks.

    Yet one does not have to go back in time very long to find a barren and windy landscape in the nibble industry. Chips and nibbles made their appearance in the 1960s, and then there was deafening silence for years in the nibbler’s labs, interrupted only by the straightening of the thousand-year-old pretzel to create salty sticks; pretzels whose sole merit was that they were salty and stick-shaped.

    Then something happened. A spark, a vibration, a jolt—perhaps Steve Jobs’ morphogenetic field was blown on solar winds from Cupertino to Europe. In any case: suddenly there was the Wokkel. The effect of the appearance of this DNA-shaped salty salt in the Netherlands can hardly be overestimated. Of course it was just a little bit of pressed potato flour, but the bare fact that there was now a salt in a mold, felt monumental. We, the youth, knew that nothing would ever be the same again.

    A tsunami of creativity has taken hold of the food producers. New discoveries of form and taste tumbled over each other at a speed that left me forgetting the order of appearance, but suddenly they were all there: Hamkas – the savory snack that cleverly turns their flavor combination (ham and cheese) into a incorporated linguistic contamination into the name, a genius idea by the marketing department; Ringlings, a salt in a circle that you could slide around your finger, with all the excitement that entails, but above all the first salty salt with an onion flavor (and green specks of unknown origin); Bugles: the salt where you eat something in could do: huh what? Erin? Yes man! Cream cheese, sausage spread, Nutella – whatever you want. The fence was off: Chipitos, Heartbreakers, Mama Mia’s, Pomtips, Cheetos. It. Went. But. Through.

    When the pace of shape innovation stagnated, pepper versions of all released snacks were released. We thought we were done, that there was no more inventing now, that we were at the end of human development. And perhaps it would indeed have stopped there, if the Old Chips Masters, who had seen all this innovation with sadness, hadn’t come up with the brilliant idea of ​​doing with chips what had made the wokkel a success: creating a larger baking surface, with the resulting crackling effect. The result was the phenomenal Super Chips, still in my opinion the alpha and omega of gluttonability.

    After that, development stalled for a while, but we are currently in a second wave, a renaissance if you will, in the same old-fashioned chips sector. Ever more whimsical chips with increasingly fickle shapes are served with hot peppers, truffle, blue cheese, honey, chorizo ​​– no flavor that can’t be stuck on a chip.

    We can only envy the generations after us and the glories that await them.