Plano Star-courier > News
Lay’s thinks outside the farm: mobile greenhouse educates urbanites on potato chips
Diane Bondareff / Submitted Photo - Michigan farmer Brian Walther gives a tour of 'Lay's Mobile Farm,' a mobile greenhouse designed to bring a farm experience to metropolitan areas. Visitors to the 70-foot long, 10-foot wide and 14-foot high traveling greenhouse will have an opportunity to interact with plants and meet actual Lay's potato farmers.
Plano-based Frito-Lay will show off the farm aspect of the making of Lay’s potato chips in six major cities across the country during the next month.
The mobile greenhouse -- which measures 70 feet long, 10 feet wide and 14 feet high -- showcases the growing process of the potato chips.
Linda Bethea, brand manager for Lay’s, said the greenhouse is an extension of the “Happiness is Simple” campaign started in 2009, which intends to share the simple story of the potato chips with Americans.
“Rather than tell our farmers’ stories, we are actually bringing our farm to [the city],” she said. “We’re bringing it to the city to give people the chance to experience the farm life.”
The first day of the tour was Monday at Times Square in New York. Bethea said it has been popular in its first couple of days.
The greenhouse event allows people to speak with farmers and even learn how to grow some ingredients at their homes.
The campaign will make its way to the Dallas area on Aug. 24 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and the next day will be at the Frito-Lay headquarters in Plano for visitors and Frito-Lay employees to get an idea of the farming practices employed.
“We found that consumers in America today have a growing interest in knowing more about the food they’re eating, knowing where it comes from,” Bethea said.
Vice President of Marketing Justin Lambeth said in a news release that it is important to deliver the experience of natural-grown products to the consumer.
“We are extremely grateful for the relationships we have with the farmers and communities that have built the Lay’s brand into a success over the years,” he said.
According to the release, Lay’s also offers a service on its website for people to track where the chips they are eating were made and to learn more about the potato farms and farmers.
Bethea said the tour also will encourage people to do their own farming by giving away basil plants to participants in the mobile greenhouse.
The mobile greenhouse also is donating the plants used at each stop on the tour -- which also includes Boston, Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles -- to a new community garden or to help maintain an existing garden.
Some chip flavors will be available to try at each location, and five farmers also will be available to speak with those attending.
“One of the great things about the campaign has been celebrating the people and places across America that make Lay’s potato chips,” Bethea said.
According to the Lay’s news release, the “Happiness is Simple” campaign highlights seven local farmers in regions across the United States whose potatoes have gone into Lay’s potato chips since 1974.
Frito-Lay is the foods business unit of PepsiCo.