Pringles Kelloggs

overall rating:

0.3

planets

Kavya Manoj
3/24/2022
No items found.

Pringles are well-known for their unique, stackable shape and stand out from other brands of crisps on the supermarket aisles. Created in 1968, the brand itself was originally owned by Procter and Gamble and later sold to Kellogg’s in 2012 (its now parent company). I was interested in reviewing this product as I really enjoy some of their flavours and it is one of my favourite snacks. However, I’ll be looking for alternatives as I am very disappointed by their lack of transparency on sourcing the ingredients and the issues Kellogg’s has had recently over labour rights in the USA.

What it's made of:

0.2

The chips are made of 42% dehydrated potatoes, along with wheat flour, sunflower oil (the UK version has only sunflower oil but the US version has corn, cottonseed, high oleic soybean and/or sunflower oil), rice flour, corn flour, maltodextrin, emulsifier (E471), salt and colour. There are additional ingredients added to create each of the flavours. In my opinion, the use of artificial colouring is unnecessary and arguably non-sustainable as energy and processing is going into the production only for aesthetic purposes. They do not tell us if the ingredients come from GMOs; in fact, they tell us that they don’t have a non-GMO Project Verification. I appreciate the honesty, but they should not be using GM crops, given its links to overuse of fertilisers and pesticides, and the downstream effects on biodiversity.

 

Neither Pringles nor Kellogg’s gives the consumer any information about the sourcing of these various ingredients. They do talk about using certified sustainable wheat and corn, but only for Kellogg’s cereals. I am disappointed that they cannot sustainably source these ingredients for all their products. The only information we have is that they have two European manufacturing facilities (one in Belgium and one in Poland), so we can assume that the UK Pringles are made in one of these facilities and then shipped to a distribution centre in the UK. They give no information about the mode of transport or emissions that they are trying to reduce.

 

The cylindrical packaging is made of paper cardboard which is lined with foil. The container also has a metal bottom and a plastic lid. The mix of materials used has made it difficult to recycle, although recently they have put up centres to drop off the used Pringles tubes so they can be recycled by Pringles and TerraCycle (their recycling partner). However, there are only 330 such centres in the whole of the UK, so a lot of people will not have one in their local area, so most of the tubes will end up in the landfill. They aim to have 1000 such collection points by 2023, so although that is good news, I think most people would just throw the used tubes in the landfill waste. Pringles could also make the packaging easier to recycle for the local authorities, instead of relying on the customers to bring them to collection points.

 

How it's made:

0.7

A mixture of water and a powder of dehydrated potato flakes, the flour and the starch is put under extreme pressures of 4 tonnes to form a sheet of dough/paste. A rotating machine then cuts out the oval shapes of the crisps, and any unused dough is re-flattened and sent back through the cutting machine. The oval chips are placed on metal that gives them their concave shape and fried. The flavouring powder is then added and the crisps are then weighed and portioned out to go into the tubes. To make the tubes themselves, the metal-lined paper is rolled and using high temperatures, the metal rim and bottom is stuck on. The use of high temperatures and pressures in the manufacturing makes this an energy intensive process. 

 

They are working towards using more renewable energy; in 2018, 100% of the electricity they used in Europe came from renewables. Across the global operations, ⅓ of the electricity they use is renewable, but they plan to make it 100% by 2050. I hope they achieve this before the 2050 deadline, given that they have already invested in the use of solar power in some of their manufacturing sites. Since this is only electricity, I assume it doesn’t include emissions and use of energy in transportation (as they would likely use ships or planes). They have reduced their total energy usage by 15% since 2015, which was their goal for 2020, so I hope to see them reduce it further.

Who makes it:

0

Since we are not given any details on where the UK Pringles’ ingredients are sourced, we have no information on how the farm and factory workers etc. are treated. All we are told is that in 2019, they had “responsibly sourced” 99% and 95% of the corn and rice respectively, along with 86% of potatoes. They do have documents that possibly further describe their definition of “responsible sourcing”, but these cannot be downloaded from their website safely, so I cannot view them. They need to update their website with new statistics and documents that consumers can actually access.

 

Although Pringles does not have palm oil, other Kellogg’s products do. In 2016, Amnesty international exposed that Kellogg’s palm oil provider (Wilmar International) had profited off child labour and forced labour, with some not being paid at all. Kellogg’s stated that they were not aware of this due to traceability issues. This is appalling and I can only hope that they’ve fixed their traceability sistem since 2016. The palm oil they use now is RSPO certified (they use a mix of mass balance and segregated). Both of these certifications have at least some unsustainable palm oil in them, so I would really urge them to at least verify their suppliers personally or upgrade to RSPO identity preserved certification, which means they will have full traceability to the field of the palm oil.

 

In October 2021, workers from Kellogg’s US held a strike as they were part of the BCTGM union that couldn’t come to an agreement with Kellogg’s about employee pensions and benefits (healthcare, vacation etc.). Kellogg’s threatened to move production to Mexico if the union did not comply, so the strike began and lasted 77 days until almost all the 1,400 striking workers agreed on a bargaining agreement. This is concerning as it is so recent and I feel as though Kellogg’s only agreed because of the national outrage and boycott. I don’t think they have the worker’s best interests and welfare in mind.

 

Overall, I was disappointed by their lack of transparency in the European supply chain and distribution. Although they are making progress on renewable energy, their treatment of workers in the USA (and I assume worldwide, as the American workers were supported by a large union, which may not exist worldwide) is shocking and I can only hope that they fix this systemic issue within management.