Sterzing’s Potato Chips is a family owned and operated wholesale potato chip manufacturing company based in Burlington, Iowa. Apart from potato chips, it also manufactures and distributes dips in a variety of flavors. The company logo tees, pens, magnets and chip clips are also available to purchase.
Barney Sterzing, the founder of Sterzing’s Potato Chips, started his business as a candy and confectionery manufacturer. In the mid 1930s, he decided to expand his candy business by adding potato chips to the product line. Thus, Sterling’s Potato Chips was born. He made potato chips by slicing potatoes and then slow-cooking them. He did this in small batches to produce good quality potato chips. Once cooked, they were sprinkled with salt. He tried to keep his recipe simple, and avoided artificial colors and flavors. The ingredients of his chips are oil, potato and salt, and the company still follows this traditional recipe.
Within a few years, the potato chips manufactured by Sterzing became very popular in the local area. During World War II, his candy manufacturing business slowed down as the availability of raw materials decreased, so he shifted his focus more toward his potato manufacturing business. Sterzing believed that it was the quality of his chips that made them so famous. So, he decided to employ a quality control engineer. Thus, Renae Roberts was selected to the position to ensure the superior quality of each and every chip made. She introduced a new system to separate uneven chips from even ones. The strict quality control that she put in place is still maintained by the company.
Warren ‘Dutch’ Duttweiler, a cousin of Sterzing’s, bought the company in 1959. Sterzing’s Potato Chips began expanding its distribution network to all parts of the U.S. Later, it began its international trade during the Vietnam War. It supplied potato chips to the service men and women who came from Iowa and were stationed in Vietnam and craved the chips they grew up with.
After that, it expanded its business to Egypt, Europe and Middle East. It also introduced an online shopping facility for its customers around the world. In 1984, the company introduced tortilla chips. The next few years saw the introduction of new products such as salsas and dips. In 2009, it introduced its trans-fat free range of products.
Today, the company also supplies products to servicemen in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, the company is owned and operated by the 3rd generation of the Sterzing family and they still follow the original, simple recipe.
Company headquarters: 1819 Charles Street, Burlington, IA, USA
Number of manufacturing plants: 1
Annual revenue: $10 to 20 million
Number of employees: 20 to 49
Demography: Young, Natural and Organic