A Chip Off the Old Dutch

2018.0520.017

Image from HHM Collections

Today most Old Dutch Potato Chips are sold in their signature cardboard box, but they originally came in a one-pound tin like this one in the collection at Hennepin History Museum. That iconic windmill logo is ubiquitous on grocery store shelves all over the upper Midwest and customers in Hennepin County are loyal to the company. Old Dutch is the oldest potato chip manufacturer in Minnesota, and they have enjoyed a long and successful history in the snack business.

Karl Marx founded Old Dutch in 1934 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Just three years later, the company crossed county lines and established their headquarters in Minneapolis. Vernon Aanenson purchased the company in 1952, and ultimately passed it along to his sons. Steven Aanenson is President of Old Dutch today, and his brother Eric is its Senior Vice President. The company’s success is surely due to attention to quality and flavor that Old Dutch has always been devoted to. The back of the tin seen above, which dates to the fifties, reads “Old Dutch fine potato chips are one of those foods of outstanding quality with a new tenderness and special flavor that makes them everybody’s flavor favorite!”

Old Dutch celebrates its 85th anniversary this year and the company can still boast about their devoted customer base. Though they will never achieve the same status as larger national brands, the snack company is famous in this region. So much so, Old Dutch products even made their way to the silver screen, appearing in movies set in the upper Midwest. Those titles include “Fargo”, “Grumpier Old Men”, and “Michael”, to name a few. Old Dutch has become so tied to our local identity that even Hollywood knows about it.

 

Written by Alyssa Thiede

Sources:

Jones, Gwenyth. “Potato Chips Boom with New Tastes,” Minneapolis Star, February 4, 1958. Star Tribune Archive.

Tillotson, Kristin, “Always Hometown Stars, Old Dutch Chips Hits Movies,” Star Tribune, February 16, 1997. Star Tribune Archive.

 

This publication was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Any views, findings, opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, or the Minnesota Historic Resources Advisory Committee.

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