Fredric Baur, the man who invented the tubular can that packages Pringles potato chips, died May 4, 2008, at the age of 89. Yesterday it was announced that he has had some of his ashes put into a Pringles can which was put into his coffin.
Baur was an organic chemist and food storage technician who specialized in research and development and quality control for Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co. A patent for the can was granted in 1970, according to P&G archivist Ed Rider.
Pringles have always been my favorite potato chips. I’ve always felt their flavoring was superior to other chips – from the Original Salted, to Sour Cream and Onion, to Cheez Ums. But I know what attracted me to them originally was their unique presentation, not only the can, which seemed so classy compared to regular potato chip bags, but the uniformity and aesthetics of the chips.
Pringles are the ultimate combination of quality, presentation, and branding. Those are the keys to success when producing and selling any product which can seem generic and commoditized, whether it be a food, computer, or machined part. In the world’s capitalist economy fueled by consumer choice, the only way to succeed in business is to use Procter & Gamble’s Pringles model. Yes – price also plays a huge part in competition, but the companies which truly dominate the world always strive for excellence – to produce their own Pringles.