Crisp Wars

Visualisation of the benefits of a crisp war

Around 1977 there was a war going on. A very serious war indeed. It was a war of competition between the two leading brands of crisp manufacture. The details are vague but the important thing was that the price of crisps went down very suddenly. This was a time when the price of everything else was going up. Petrol went from 30p to 50p per gallon! Omg!

I think of it as the time when my crisps addiction truly began. Before this we couldn’t afford to buy crisps for ourselves and had to rely on them being in little bowls at parties or being given a whole packet as a special treat. During The Crisp War you could buy a packet of crisps for five pence, and you could get five pence for yourself pretty easily compared to the 10p or 12p they had previously cost.

Children now may be surprised to hear that crisps were so expensive compared to other food. After all, if you can buy a bag now for 10p or less, how is it that they cost this in the Seventies? First, we had real crisps back then – the sort that cost 40p or more for a packet now – not that godawful maize garbage that is served up for 10p a time and disintegrates to nothing the minute you touch it (though we did have Wotsits). Next point, it’s all about supply and demand. More crisps are manufactured now by more brands and supermarkets sell multipacks. Back then you bought one packet at a time and you were grateful for the privilege.

Why were crisps so special? They were a food that you didn’t have to prepare yourself or wait for it to cook. That isn’t so special anymore but back then it was, trust me on this.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room


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