named after the town in which they were first consumed. In 1895, William Tappenden of Cleveland began manufacturing potato chips for home consumption. Snack food innovationsincluded the introduction of ridged potato chips in 1966 and fabricated potato chips in the1970s.In 1885 the snack food industry received a boost from the invention of the first poppingmachine by a Chicago inventor named Charles Cretors. His machine used oil to pop the cornand was used for about a century until the development of the hot air popper. In the mid-1960s, the snack began to be manufactured on a mass scale by Orville Redenbacher, whothen promoted his brand as a gourmet hybrid popcorn. The next major innovation came in1986, when Pillsbury introduced microwavable popcorn.
Industry analysts reported that the snack food industry fared well in the early1990s, given the economic downturn. In fact, over time the industry developed a reputationfor being recession proof. However, stiff competition required increasingly aggressive promotions to grab the consumer dollar, so some viewed salty snacks as a no-growthindustry.Dollar sales of savory snacks—in a broad category including pretzels and snack nuts—grewfrom $10.6 billion in 1987 to $13.8 billion in 1992, an increase of 30 percent. Per capitaconsumption jumped from 17.49 pounds in 1987 to 20.55 pounds in 1992. The field wasdominated by Frito-Lay, a subsidiary of Pepsi Co., which claimed nearly half of the overallsalty snack food market in 1992. But Americans' appetite for specialty and relatively"healthy" snacks kept the industry competitive. More than 400 new products were introducedin both 1991 and 1992, including several varieties of multigrain chips, flavored ready-to-eat popcorn, and diet cheese puffs.Profits for salty snack manufacturers were 7.5 percent in 1992, representing a slight dropfrom the previous year. These figures included additional snacks, such as pretzels and packaged nuts, which were made by "full-service" salty snack companies such as Frito-Layand Borden. Pre-tax profit margins for this broad category of snacks slipped from 6.8 percentin 1991 to 4.2 percent in 1992. Domestic dollar sales in 1992 were $9.6 billion—up overall