Hostess buys out Vickie

Hostess Frito-Lay of Toronto is still smacking its lips after swallowing salty potato chip maker Miss Vickie's of Lowell, Ont.Miss Vickie's was founded five years ago by Vickie and Bill Kerr on their private potato farm.From the beginning, the couple has...

Hostess Frito-Lay of Toronto is still smacking its lips after swallowing salty potato chip maker Miss Vickie’s of Lowell, Ont.

Miss Vickie’s was founded five years ago by Vickie and Bill Kerr on their private potato farm.

From the beginning, the couple has cooked their premium-priced potato chips one batch at a time in large stainless steel kettles.

The resulting product, known in the trade as a hard-bite potato chip, is readily distinguishable from conventional potato chips, which are mass-produced using conveyor belts.

Separate unit

Jim Postl, president of Hostess, which bought Miss Vickie’s on Feb. 1, says the newly acquired company will operate as a separate unit within Hostess.

Postl says he intends to expand Miss Vickie’s’ distribution while maintaining its non-mainstream positioning.

‘Miss Vickie’s has a down-home kind of position,’ Postl says. ‘It’s the kind of product people see as having been home-cooked just for them.’

Hard-bite brands account for about 5% of the potato chip market in Canada.

Postl says the market in the u.s. is as large as 10%, suggesting there is plenty of room for growth in Canada.