Which crisp packets have the most air in them?

13 July 2018, 13:01 | Updated: 13 July 2018, 13:04

Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

It's one of the most annoying things ever: you open a new bag of crisps, only to be met with mostly air and a measly portion.

Last year, CDA Appliances found that crisp fans can feel short-changed when they find “so few crisps in packets and why there is, seemingly, so much air inside".

They compared the amount of air our favourite crisp brands and found it varied pretty dramatically from 18% to 72%. Here are the findings:

Air in crisps
Picture: CDA
Air in crisps
Picture: CDA

Why does this happen, it's not fair!

The air is actually nitrogen, a gas you can't see or taste, which helps keep the crisps fresh and stop them from being damaged during transportation.

“It seems 42% of nitrogen is a good industry average for packaging and any more than that, you are losing out,” CDA said.

Read more: Study finds which supermarkets swindle us with sandwich fillings

The Snack, Nut and Crisp Manufacturers Association (SNACMA) responded to the investigation in 2017, explaining: “Products manufactured by UK snack manufacturers are sold on a weight basis and are clearly marked as such.

“In order to retain the products’ freshness, a gas is sometimes inserted into the packet – this would be a natural component in air, typically nitrogen – giving the finished product a pillow-like appearance. In addition to preventing staleness, the inserted gas also provides the added benefit of creating a cushioning effect to protect the fragile contents of a packet from damage.”


Meanwhile, a separate recent study by Kitchen Cabinet Kings has seen them testing the crisp-to-air ratio of 14 well-known brands, using a method that involved emptying crisps into a plastic bag, vacuum sealing them, submerging the bag and then measuring the change in water.

They found that the worst value for all were packets of Cheetos, which are 59% air. However, Pringles probably give you the best value for money with just 28% air.

So, there you go. Wotsits, Hula Hoops, Quavers and Pringles offer you more crisps per penny!