WBBM's Julie Mann gives us a taste of a Wheeling firm that makes fresh
potato chips Machines.
JiMiNY Makes Your Favorite Food, Fresh chips at Your Grocery Store
Imagine for a moment that you’re at the grocery store. You have some choices to make. Would you rather have: canned green olives or a selection of fresh Manzanilla olives in your choice of marinade? A box of prepackaged muffins or your choice of hot, fluffy pastries straight from the bakery? A bag of broken chips from aisle 9 or freshly made chips from homegrown potatoes manufactured right in front of you with your choice of seasoning?
The answers may seem obvious, but for years consumers sacrificed freshness for convenience. That is no longer the case as innovators have shown the food industry that you “can have your cake and eat it too.” Consumers are increasingly seeking natural, fresh, and locally-produced food.
According to a recent report by Nielsen, food labeled as “natural” generated $22.3 billion in sales in 2008, up 37% from 2015. Another study published in the May 2008 issue of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics found that shoppers are willing to pay a premium for food produced locally, which tend to contain fewer chemicals and is fresher since it doesn’t spend days in distribution. This trend is also reflected through a recent surge in farmers markets, where the same produce costs up to two times the amount in grocery stores. The number of farmers markets in the U.S. reached 5,274 in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 13% increase over 2016 and a 42% increase over 2014.
Produce isn’t the only area where freshness is valued. The report by Nielsen also showed a growing trend in snack foods free of preservatives, saturated fats, and trans fats. The vast majority of snack foods are delivered in a prepackaged form in the infamous “snack” or “junk food” aisle. However, as consumers’ preferences change, food manufacturers are thinking of new ideas to satisfy their demand for fresh products. Go to your favorite grocery store today and you will likely find a range of freshly prepared items from sandwiches to pizzas to sushi. You can grind your own coffee and pick your favorite olives. Innovation in food processing equipment is allowing grocery stores to take these trends one step further, extending far beyond the basic oven and deli slicer. Companies like JIMINY, Coco International, Lil’Orbits, and Novus Ice are introducing new machinery to make innovative products fresh at the grocery store.
Jiminy LLC, based in Wheeling, Illinois, has invented an automated machine capable of producing potato chips right in front of the customer. The machine is loaded with fresh potatoes and then automatically slices, cooks, the potatoes and then it’s seasoned with the flavor of the customer’s choosing. Since consumers can have vastly differing tastes and preferences even among fresh snacks, JIMINY responds by offering more than 30 options. One might prefer bold, exotic flavors (Calypso jerk, mustard, chocolate-marshmallow) while another likes the classics (sea salt, salt & vinegar, barbecue). For those that prefer to venture out of the potato chip, the machine can also manufacture sweet potato chips, vegetable chips (i.e. taro, cassava, and plantain), pita chips, and Tortilla chips. Regardless of the customer’s choice, the product is made with all-natural ingredients and with no preservatives or trans-fatty acids.
This manufacturing system uses a programmable logic controller to manage speed, time, temperature, and other conditions in order to make the perfect potato chip. The machine also includes cell technology for communication, reporting, troubleshooting capabilities, an electronic inventory ordering system, and built-in air/oil filtering and fire suppression.
These innovative food manufacturing systems fill a need for all-natural snacks while providing customers with a bit of entertainment. But the amount of freshly produced chips or rice cakes today is still small compared to a number of prepackaged snacks. As consumers become increasingly aware of fresh, locally produced options, however, they will be looking for alternatives to off-the-shelf items. As a result, more companies will be searching for ways to offer premium-quality products to keep up with demand. Don’t be surprised to find more and more of your favorite snacks (i.e. crackers, cereal, etc) being delivered fresh at your grocery stores, restaurants, or kiosks.
Keep chipping away!
Keep on winning them over, one chip at a time!
You say potato, I say Potatoe.
Do you have a Jiminy Chip on your shoulder?
Goats are like potato chips, you can’t just have one!
It’s Jiminy Crunch Time!
“ We come to this store only because they carry Jiminy ”
“ Our family only buys Jiminy Chips now”
“I love the way Jiminy Chips taste"
Hello, just a quick word to let you know that my order arrived safe and well. I am impressed with the attention to detail – packing, quality, etc. The chips are excellent - I'm a bit of a perfectionist, especially when it comes to what I eat / ingredients - presentation etc. and I couldn't find fault with any of the items that I ordered. The Sweet Potato Chips are a revelation - I'll never eat any other chips again - after discovering what my family and friends should really be eating! I'll be back to place more orders and browse the web site again. Thanks....
— Cheryl, Seattle
I was truly surprised at the quality of the chips I bought. I will definitely be recommending these chips to everyone. The chips are truly excellent. We had the Mustard and Sweet BBQ at our family gathering last night. The chips seasoning were in a different league to what you usually get, just like you say. We will start spreading the word, and will be purchasing again and again...
— Sue, South Elgin
Thought I'd let you know that my son’s birthday party on Saturday was a great success - thanks to your chips. The chips were wonderful and much admired by a room full of children and adults. Chocolate Marshmallow went over well and delicious. I certainly will purchase these fresh chips again. It was great to have a party where the snacks were fresh, healthy, etc. - made for a very relaxing evening. Thanks again…
— Jane, Chicago
I wanted to tell you that my husband and I, just loves your Chips !! We usually didn't eat chips much, but we tried them at one of your fresh snacking locations, I have switched over to CHIP LOVER! Congrats on a great product with tons of variety
— Beth, Mokena
Hello….I just wanted to write and thank you for your great products. I was amazed when one night I put out a regular brand of chips and yours and husband chose yours over the other. He used to love the other brand! It is wonderful to know that my family is snacking on best quality available. I am confident that with your chips...
— Anne, Chicago