The British court answered an eternal question: how much potato is in a crisp?

The British court answered an eternal question: how much potato is in a crisp?


Shakespeare once wrote, Where no pleasure is taken, no profit grows. And so in the tiring journey of life, we find happiness in the small things: the sun rising. A nice glass of wine. The smooth snap of a nicely garnished potato crisp.

But soft! not so fast. Life offers no simple pleasures, and even that delicious crispiness comes with a weighty debate: How much of a crisp – a chip – does a potato have, according to Americans?

this and many other probing questions of crisp fondue – was immortalized last week by a British tax appeals court, which ruled that Walkers Sensation Poppadomes, puffed, non-crisp-looking potato medallions, are, in fact, identical to potato crisps.

Thus, we join the hallowed roster of existential food debates, the ethical implications of which far exceed the consumptive utility of their subjects. is one of them Jaffa Cake Cake, or biscuits? Does a Chicago style pie count as pizza? Is a hot dog a sandwich? Do you prefer Wawa over Sheetz, or are you wrong?

The decision means Walkers, the maker of poppadums and dozens of other snack foods, will have to add the same value-added on its poppadums as it does on its various crisps. Even more importantly, a trial judge has entered this type of order for the sake of all mortals and crisp-loving-types that will surely irritate the public disproportionately.

“Food is probably one of the most profound, powerful ways of expressing cultural identity,” said Dr. Ty Matejowski, professor of anthropology at the University of Central Florida. As such, he said, the court’s decision is unlikely to change anyone’s crisp-related opinions.

Walkers Crisps’ label bears a clear resemblance to the American Lay’s potato chip brand, and also distributes Doritos in the UK. This is because they are all owned by PepsiCo, which kept the Walkers brand name in Britain and Ireland. The label is different, but they are effectively the same chip.

Poppadum, the English version of the Indian “papadum”, is a flat, crisp, circular flatbread usually made from gram flour. Traditionally, they are tortilla-shaped. However, Walkers devised the design in a smaller form, closer to the size of a potato chip, which he introduced with the help of a potato chip. Sikh elvis impersonator In the late 1980s.

The Walkers controversy bears striking resemblance to the great Pringles decision of 2008, when a British High Court judge ruled that the ubiquitous canned snacks also counted as crisps, contrary to tax arguments.

There is colloquial debate over whether poppadoms are a meal or a snack. For purposes of the law, a “meal” requires preparation and is intended to be eaten as part of something larger. “Snacks” are efficient packages that can be enjoyed alone. Like, let’s say, a bag of potato chips.

This may seem like a minor difference, but when it comes to British tax law, it is no small claim. While most food items are tax-free, the current value-added tax rate for snacks like Kurkure is 20 per cent, making the potential stake in Walker’s poppadum game running into crores.

“It’s a lot of money for the government,” said Dr. Katherine Clark, senior law lecturer at the University of Exeter. “This is all really stupid. But we are there.”

The decision is the latest in a year-long journey for Walkers, which has claimed 2021 for its Sensations Popedomes No Similar to their potato crisp cousins, and therefore should be tax-free like most other foods.

There are several reasons why the poppadom is not crispy, Walker’s lawyers said. To begin with, they should be eaten with other things like chutney or dip – or, one could say, Ready, And, any “common man on the street” would know that they are not the same thing. Perhaps most critically, the Walkers argued, the potato starch and granules used to make poppadoms should not, by purist standards, count as potato ingredients.

Unfortunately for the Walkers, the tribunal was not swayed by the company’s case. The poppadum may not contain as much potato as a traditional crisp, but the proper potato-to-poppadum-to-chip ratio is in the eye of the beholder, Judge said.

“The products clearly contained potatoes,” the judge wrote.

It’s a narrow decision – no thanks to the Walkers, whose lawyers almost brought the proverbial poppadom ship down with them. The company argued that lots of non-potato poppadums were VAT-free in the UK.

But like many other cases, this case also went sour.

The judge said, “The fact that poppadoms based on the traditional recipe made with gram flour without potatoes are zero-rated for VAT purposes does not mean that poppadoms based on the traditional recipe, which also includes potatoes, are zero-rated for VAT purposes. should also be zero-rated.” “The first one is excluded not because it is a ‘poppadom’ but, rather, because it contains no potatoes.”

The Walkers, who did not respond to a request for comment on the decision, have eight weeks to appeal. Until then, the law has spoken. Spiritually, it may be a poppadom. But legally – at least for now – it’s a chip.



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