Monday: 12/10/01

Torengos: A New Chip Standard
While the silicon chip industry may be governed by Moore's Law, which basically states that your computer is obsolete as soon as its warranty runs out, the snack chip industry proceeds at a much slower pace. Recently, however, Procter & Gamble unveiled a breakthrough new product: the Torengo.

According to a Procter & Gamble press release, Torengos are "the only triangular, white-corn tortilla chips with a 'bowl' shape, ingeniously curved for serious dipping and stacked in a resealable triangular canister to protect against breakage. Torengos Tortilla Chips are perfectly shaped to hold loads of dip or salsa..."

For years, of course, the potato-chip industry has understood that chips are really just spoons you can eat, and have thus designed many of their products accordingly. The corn-chip industry, however, has shown less interest in utility. As a niche product aimed at consumers seeking an exotic snacking experience, the tortilla chip was actually enhanced by its irregular shape and structural weaknesses: these flaws made the chips seem hand-made, authentic, perhaps even manufactured in Mexico!

But over the last few years, a quiet revolution has been taking place in the snack chip industry: while tortilla chips once represented just a small fraction of a market that was dominated by good, old-fashioned potato chips, their annual sales are now growing at a rate 2.5 times faster than potato chips, with 75% of American households now eating them. An exotic novelty no longer, the tortilla chip is now a standard American snack. As such, it cried out to be standardized, and finally, the snack chip industry has answered that cry. We thank Procter & Gamble for designing this new chip that will help us "maximize [our] dipping power," and we look forward to purchasing our first triangular can of Torengos soon!

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