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Hans-Heinrich Zweifel ‘Mr. Potato Chips’ dies at 87

Zweifel was voted the most trustworthy brand in a survey by the Swiss Association of Brands in 2019 © Keystone / Christian Beutler

Hans-Heinrich Zweifel, who created the Swiss Zweifel Chips empire, died last Monday from a heart condition.

This content was published on November 7, 2020 - 16:30
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“He was a boss with heart and soul, although he wasn't entirely convinced of the product at the beginning," reads the obituary in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung on Saturday.

Zweifel, is credited with turning the Swiss on to potato crisps – or chips as they are known in some countries. When Zweifel built the company of the same name in the late 1950s, everything was done by hand. Two tonnes of potatoes were peeled, cut, fried and packed every day to make around 500 kilos of chips.

The company eventually became a household name and synonymous with potato crisps in the country.  

Mr. Zweifel was known for his sly tactics to gain an edge over competitors. When he retired from the family business in 2008, he told swissinfo.ch that he would buy competitors’ products in shops and replace them with his own. He’d also look through factory windows to see what his competitors were up to.

In his biography, Zweifel said that his father told him that “tomorrow will be the start of the seriousness of life". NZZ writes, “but the seriousness of life never caught up with him: Zweifel was known for his humour and generosity”.

Today the company processes 24,000 tonnes of potatoes into crisps every year in its factory outside Zurich. In 2019, the company had sales of CHF241 million ($267 million) and was voted the country's most trustworthy brand in a survey by the Swiss Association of Brands.

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