Action Line: Alaska Chips co-owner discusses bringing products to Southeast

    Ralph Carney was a guest on Action Line Thursday.

    The Alaska Chip Company has been in business since 2003, but  its products have only been distributed to Juneau and Southeast Alaska since late last year and the beginning of this year.

    Carney said it was difficult setting up distribution of his product to the region.

    "In November of last year, we were contacted by a distributor who was interested in the product," stated Carney. "By December, and finally January, we shipped a mixed variety of all our chips and popcorns along with a pallet of display racks. It's been a success, and we're just so happy to finally be able to serve the markets in Juneau and throughout the Southeast."

    The company is a good example of adding value to an Alaska resource. In this case, it uses potatoes grown in Palmer, to make its chips.

    When asked about the value of companies like his to Alaska, Carney commented that was a multifaceted question. One facet is the health of the state economy, noting Alaska Chips' usage of local businesses for supplies as an example. Another aspect he highlighted is assuring a sustainable food source for Alaskans.

    "The more infrastructure of food manufacturing that we have in this state, the bigger margin we have to protect ourselves from that eventual day when there will be some kind of a temporary or permanent break in our food supply."

    The company makes four flavors of potato chips: the regular Alaska chip, a barbecue flavor dubbed Grizzly chips, jalapeno flavored chips sold under the moniker of Volcano chips, and a sour cream and chive chip called Chilkoot.

    We were going to suggest a smoked salmon flavored chip after we listened to Carney's answer to our question about any plans to expand his product line.

    "We have some ideas, and then of course there's the reality; the ideas are dreams. I've always wanted to have a smoked salmon potato chip. From day one when we opened up, I had the ideas to have barbecue chips, regular chips, and a smoked salmon potato chip. But, I'll be darned if I can find seasoning or flavoring that makes a potato chip really taste like a good smoked salmon. So that's never come to fruition, but I haven't given up. We'd also like to someday add a sea salt and vinegar flavor."

    The Alaska Chip Company also makes various flavors of popcorn. A full list of flavors, along with additional information, is available at Alaska Chips' website.

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