Consumers/Consumption

Michigan State researchers developed dark purple potatoes. Now, they're becoming potato chips

It took 20 years, but Michigan State University researchers reached their goal — breeding a purple potato.

And now they’re being made into purple, kettle-cooked potato chips.

Dave Douches, director for the MSU Potato Breeding and Genetics program, and other researchers spent the last two decades crossing potato varieties and testing until they developed the purple spud species they were hoping for, a variety they call the Blackberry potato.

The MSU potato program and Traverse City-based Great Lakes Potato Chip Co. partnered to produce the purple, kettle-cooked potato chips as a way to capitalize on the Blackberry potato and to celebrate the potato chip company’s 10th anniversary.

Unlike the fruit its name is derived from, the potato doesn’t have a sweet taste, but Douches said it makes a tasty potato chip.

“On average, if you close your eyes, they taste like a typical potato chip,” Douches said. “They’re a nice, crunchy chip.”   

Sales have shown consumers quickly have grown a hunger for the potato chips.

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