Why are snack products so popular?

Snacks are made of natural, high quality raw materials such as potatoes, maize, wheat, cereal grains, or peanuts. Consumers can easily find products to suit their every taste since potato crisps, peanut flips, pretzel sticks, lye or cheese pastries are available in a great variety of tasty variants and formulations. In addition, there are salt free and/or fat-free variants which make up a considerable share of the overall consumption of snack products. What is more, various pack sizes are available throughout all product segments, to meet the various demands of consumers.

Snack products all share the common factor that they are popularly eaten in company, making them indispensable to parties, barbecue feasts, football matches watched together, or informal get-togethers among friends.


Where does the German word “Studentenfutter” (a nuts and raisins mix) come from?

“Studentenfutter” as a term describing a mixture originally consisting of raisins and almonds has been known since the 17th century. At a later time, different dried fruit and different unsalted nuts were also added, including peanuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, or cashew kernels.

In student circles it had been presumed since the 17th century that particularly the almonds were an effective countermeasure against drunkenness or a hangover. Another theory is that the name might have arisen from the alleged concentration-boosting effect among those studying.

In the 18th century, “Studentenfutter” was even prescribed as a medicine in treating various illnesses where boosting the body’s own strength was considered a necessity. In a similar vein, the term “Pfaffenfutter” describes the addition of spices, candied spice seeds, and liquorice.


Which sort of nut do Germans like most?

Germans are particularly fond of snacking peanuts. However, the name itself is a red herring since, from a botanist’s point of view, the peanut is not a nut but belongs – as do peas or beans as well – to the family of papilionaceous plants. The pulse of the peanut grows in the earth. This underground fruit does not open of its own accord. Usually there are one to four seeds in the six-centimetre-long curved capsule.

Peanuts are often sold in roasted and salted form but are also used as ingredients in confectionery such as baked goods or chocolates. Other popular products are peanut butter and peanut flips.

Originally native to the Andes of South America, peanut farming has meanwhile spread throughout the tropics and subtropics due to the peanut’s increasing significance as an oil plant. Archaeologists have dated the oldest known findings of peanuts in connection with human settlements in Peru to over 7,000 years ago. It has also been proven that the peanut was farmed in Brazil over 2000 years ago. Today the peanut is farmed in warm regions all around the world. The main growing regions are West Africa, China, India, and North and South America.

Peanuts have a protein content of around 25%. Their fat content lies at about 50% and their carbohydrate content at around 22%. But caution is urged among allergy sufferers for even the smallest amount may trigger severe or even life-threatening symptoms among those affected. This is why peanuts have to be clearly labelled as an ingredient with allergenic potential on all packaged foodstuffs.


What makes nuts so healthy?

A handful of nuts per day is an ideal snack between meals. This is because they contain fatty acids essential for the human body. In addition they contain vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibres.


When was the potato crisp invented?

Potato crisps (potato chips in America) were invented in 1853 by a Native American descendant and hotel chef called George Crum. Crum was getting annoyed with a guest of his, presumably no less a personage than the American “railroad czar” Cornelius Vanderbilt. The latter repeatedly sent back the fried potatoes served to him, complaining of their thickness. Finally Crum resorted to cutting the potato slices into millimetre thin wafers and fried them. To the chef’s amazement, his guest was absolutely delighted with the result. This was the moment of origin of the potato crisp! Or rather the potato chip, as Americans would say.


Who invented tortilla chips and why are they triangular?

Tortilla chips were invented in a Mexican delicatessen and tortilla factory in Los Angeles at the end of the 1940s. The owner, Rebecca Carranza, was looking for an idea of how to make use of tortilla flatbreads which her automatic tortilla machine could no longer process. So she cut the otherwise non-processable tortilla flatbreads into small triangles and fried them. With the selling of her tortilla chips as a snack, they soon became a huge nationwide hit.


How do I best store savoury biscuits to keep them fresh for as long as possible?

The key thing is to keep savoury biscuits dry when stored. Open packages should be well sealed again. Biscuits left lying in the open or stored in open packages quickly absorb moisture from the surrounding air. This makes them lose their crispiness and negatively affects their taste.


When did the pretzel stick arrive on the scene?

Lye-dough pastries count among the oldest salty bakery wares in the German-speaking regions of Europe, especially in the form of pretzels sold at the baker’s. The pretzel stick is a newcomer by comparison, having first appeared in the USA and then forged its way to Germany in the mid-30s of the 20th century. Pretzel sticks count among the range of so-called long-life lye bakery products and are only industrially produced. Pretzel sticks have a shiny brown finish, are crispy, and have a long shelf life when stored in an airtight fashion. As with fine biscuits or other fine bakery wares, pretzel sticks are baked in the oven. The main ingredients of pretzel sticks are wheat flour, vegetable oil, and naturally salt. Nowadays pretzel sticks come in a huge variety of forms, including organic products, those made with wholegrain, or those made with sesame instead of salt, and in various thicknesses from delicately thin to extra thick. And yet the classic form continues from strength to strength and is unsurpassed in its huge popularity.


What is meant by the “pretzel stick equator”?

Pretzel sticks count among the most popular snacks throughout the whole of Germany. The characteristic ingredients of these traditional products have remained unchanged for over 80 years, namely wheat flour, vegetable fat, and of course salt.

However there are regional differences in form, leaving Germany divided by the “pretzel stick equator”. The north favours the newer pretzel sticks whereas the south still prefers the centuries-old traditional salted pretzels.

Thankfully for all snackers, however, both products are widely available throughout the length and breadth of Germany.


What snacks do Germans like most?

A representative online consumer poll conducted by the Snack Products group of the BDSI has shown that potato crisps are the top favourite among Germans, followed by peanuts flips, peanuts, and pretzel sticks.


Could I make home-made peanut flips, like with popcorn?

This is not really advisable. Though Internet forums, for example, do indeed provide links to “recipes”, producing peanut flips is a much more complicated affair than making popcorn, for example. Peanut flips cannot easily be made in one’s own kitchen using the simple means at hand. This is much easier with popcorn, where grains of maize only need to be opened at a high temperature.