Calbee is the biggest producer of potato chips in Japan
Calbee’s new Potato Bag allows you to grow the same potatoes they use to make their potato chips at home while being sustainable!
The Potato Bag project is aimed as growing awareness and raising interest in sustainable produce and a more sustainable future
Potato Chips Need to Get Sustainable!
“I’ll just have one.” One of life’s biggest lies that we’ve all told ourselves when digging in on some crispy potato chips. You can never have “just one.”
Whether it’s Doritos, Fritos, Cheetos, Kettle Chips, or good ol’ fashioned Lays, we all have our “go-to” brand when it comes to the savory, crispy fried snack of our choice. Everyone loves a good potato chip… or two… or the whole bag.
In Japan, the snack company Calbee absolutely dominates the potato chip game. While you might see a bunch of options to choose from on the shelves, if you look closely, almost all of the chips you see in Japan are made by Calbee.
Some notable flavors include their classic lightly salted, nori-shio (seaweed and salt), consomme, and pizza. Other popular series include their kettle-style Kata-Age line, Jagarico potato sticks, and famous Ebisen, a shrimp cracker line.
While these all are as delicious as they sound, the sad, sad truth is that like almost everything else that tastes good, potato chips are unhealthy. On top of this, potato chips aren’t exactly eco-friendly either. Some studies indicate that the amount of water used to produce one bag of potato chips amounts to a 50-minute shower, or 137 gallons. To make and transport the bags, about 10.6 ounces of CO2e is omitted.
Introducing the Potato Bag for Sustainable Potato Chips
As we move towards a more sustainable future, we might begin to see less and less of our favorite potato chips on the shelves, or even worse, they might become healthier.
The good news is that Calbee has taken the first step towards a more sustainable future in the world of potato chips by now allowing you, yes you, to grow your own sustainable potato chips.
What’s Inside the Potato Bag?
Now, I know what you’re thinking, but it’s true. Of course, you won’t be able to “grow potato chips,” but you are able to grow the same exact potato used by Calbee to make their delicious chips at home all while being sustainable and eco-friendly, thanks to their new Potato Bag.
The Potato Bag, which is now available at home and gardening stores located in the southern island of Kyushu, is a one-stop-shop when it comes to growing potatoes. The Potato Bag is basically a bag of special soil that comes with a Calbee potato seed. All you need to do to start growing is plant the seed, and water.
Developed in collaboration with horticultural soil company Protoleaf, Calbee spent three years working on the project before it was released on the 15th of December, 2021. The soil in the Potato Bag is ready to go, or “ready to grow,” as it already has the necessary fertilizers, and other supplements like coconut peat and husk chips in it to grow the perfect potatoes. Calbee Potato Bags are being sold for 250 yen, or 2.20 USD.
The seeds that come with the Potato Bag are Calbee’s own Poroshiri potato seeds. Calbee spent 10 years developing the Poroshiri, the perfect potato for potato chips and other products.
As the name implies, the bag that the ingredients are in doubles as a pot to grow the potatoes in. All you need to do is roll the top down remember to water them. The bags themselves are also sustainable as they’re made from 100% plant materials, meaning after you’ve grown the potatoes, everything can be thrown away as “burnable garbage.”
Calbee has also made sure that the Poroshiri seeds include spawn potatoes that are just the right size, meaning you also don’t need to worry about cutting the plant once it starts growing. Of course, a guidebook is also included.
How you use the potatoes once they’ve grown, is up to you.
Is the Future of Potato Chips a Sustainable One?
Calbee and Protoleaf stated that they began the project with future generations in mind. Striving for a more sustainable, eco-friendly future, the companies wanted to create a project that would not only teach children and young people the fun and importance of planting, caring for, and “nurturing the blessings of nature,” but also inspire them to continue to do so in the future. Moreover, the whole thing had to be easy!
The overall goal of the project is to raise awareness and inspire children and future generations to pay more attention to the environment and nature in general. Growing your own sustainable produce is just a first step to getting people thinking about how to create a more sustainable future. Of course, it was also to get people into growing their own sustainable potatoes, or sustainable potato chips!
So, why not make potato chips with your very own sustainable Calbee potatoes? Bet they’ll taste like the real thing!
Kevin Murasaki grew up moving back and forth between Chicago and Yokohama, Japan. Known as a "hafu", Kevin is half Japanese, and half American. Now a videographer and drone operator based in Fukuoka, Japan, Kevin enjoys playing basketball, driving on mountain or "touge" roads, and fishing in his free time. Kevin is a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia.