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    ERIE, Pa., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- If you're 30 or maybe even 40-something, you may have noticed something wonderful on the shelves of your supermarket.
    It may even stir up a flood of warm memories like a poignant episode of the "Wonder Years."
    Remember Troyer Farms Potato Chips caddy?  That round yellow canister filled with a pound of chips?  Well, it's back.  Remember mom bringing one home every Saturday with the other groceries and by the end of "Gunsmoke," the chips were gone?  But the fun was just beginning ....
    The lid make a pretty good frisbee.  The caddy worked as a basketball hoop with or without the bottom.  It also served as a container for almost anything or as a plant stand or a drum.  Students made bookshelves out of them.  And best yet, it seemed like it was free, which meant a lot during a time when freebies were even more important than frisbees.
    It was 25 years ago when Troyer Farms started making potato chips and putting them in those multi-purpose caddies.  The popular caddy was discontinued in 1974 due to a shortage of supplies and rising production costs.  They have been missed ever since.  "We have been asked many times to bring them back," said Darrel Troyer, vice president of sales at Troyer Farms Potato Chips.  "People write us or ask us this when they go on a tour of our plant.  As we celebrate our anniversary, we wanted to reintroduce the caddy as a limited edition item.  It is our special way of saying 'thank you,' to our customers for supporting us over the years."
    The company began growing operations in the early 1950's, producing several varieties of chipping potatoes.  In 1967, with less than 20 employees, Troyer Farms opened a plant that produced 500 pounds of potato chips per hour.  Today, the company has grown into a 475-employee operation.  The plant now has two shifts working daily to produce 5,000 pounds of chips per hour.  Troyer Farms has become a major regional snack producer with 40 distribution sites serving four states. Pretzels, popcorn, cornpuff curls and tortilla chips have been added to the original line of potato chips.
    Industry experts say the success and growth of Troyer Farms and other regional processors is a positive trend.  "Troyer Farms started as a small family business and has grown to become a strong regional company," said Al Rickard, vice president of communications for the 900-member Snack Food Association.  "It is a strong testimonial to their abilities that they've maintained their share of the market despite some large national companies coming along."  According to Rickard, their growth is based on a quality product, brand loyalty and steady growth. "Growth must be at the right level," he said, "where new products are introduced at the right time and distribution centers are only expanded when the company can support them."  He also said that it is unusual for a snack company to grow most of its own potatoes.  "The advantage is they have much more control over the quality of the product and they are not as subject to price swings in the market."
    The plant is also known throughout the industry as having the most advanced "environmentally safe" processing and energy conservation technology.  Processors from several countries including Japan have visited the 600-acre farm and company in Waterford, Pa., to learn how to upgrade their equipment and methods.  Troyer said he believes consumers will certainly approve of these efforts as well as products that contain no preservatives and always taste great; however, it's the return of the caddy that will probably bring back happy memories from those "Wonder Years."
    -0-             09/30/92
    CONTACT:  Connie M. Buzard of Donn Advertising, 814-453-5051, for Troyer Farms CO:  TROYER FARMS IN:  FOD ST:  PA -- PGFNS1 -- X248  09/30/92
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 30, 1992

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