Published online: Oct 16, 2008 Alan Harman
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A new potato chip factory, the first in the U.S. to produce baked, stackable potato chips, is due to open in December in Mahnomen, Minn.

The $8.5 million Mahnomen Baked Chips factory is primarily owned by the nonprofit Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corp. (MMCDC) of Detroit Lakes.

A spokesman says the baked stackable chips will provide a healthier alternative to the more common fried stackable potato chips.

Baked chips are among the fastest growing segments of the snack food market and at full capacity the plant will be able to produce 27 million canisters of baked chips a year.

"What we're attempting to do is something that no one else has done before," MMCDC President Arlen Kangas says.

The 29,000-square-foot building will initially employ 30 people.

About 90 percent of the factory's equipment is installed.

"We're waiting for three to four key pieces of equipment to be shipped from various parts of the world," he tells reporters. "We're using proprietary technology developed in the Far East."