Herr’s snack food production has come a long way from when the company used a small, old-fashioned cooker in a barn. It now has an advanced and highly automated plant that makes tens of thousands of potato chips, corn chips, tortilla chips, popcorn batches, cheese curls, and pretzels every day. The comfortable, specially designed visitors center and café, creative video, and extensive guided tour provide a tasty education in how Herr’s makes its products.
While watching the action through glass walls, you’ll “ooh” and “aah” at the panoramic views. In the pretzel area, gaze at a 100-yard stretch of pretzel twists, in rows of 20 to 24 across, marching to massive ovens. In the corn chip, cheese curl, potato chip, and popcorn production sections, your vista overlooks the entire process. Follow the raw ingredients—either corn or potatoes—as they tumble in by the truckload at the beginning of the production line; travel along a conveyor belt through a series of machines that wash, slice, cook, or season them; then head out on bucket lifts to a sorting and bagging area. Other memorable images include machines and workers bagging and boxing together in almost symphonic unison, and the cavernous warehouse filled with snack-food boxes.
Except for the boxing of bags, machines do most of the work. Notice how only a few people oversee production in most areas. Smart machines can even sense discolored potato chips and use air jets to blow these rebels off the line. The guides salt and pepper the tour with interesting facts and figures about the company, including Herr’s recycling efforts. But the best thing the guides do is grab samples of warm potato chips directly from the quickly moving conveyer belt. Bagged chips will never again taste the same!
Cost: $4 per adult (18+) $3 per child (4-17), children 3 and under are free.
Freebies: Warm potato chips during the tour; small sample bag at end of tour.
Videos/DVDs Shown: 10-minute video on company history, narrated by Herr family members; short videos throughout tour show unique views of snacks being made.
Reservations Needed: Yes, but can take walk-ins if space permits.
Days and Hours: Mon–Thur 9:00 am–3:00 pm on the hour; Fri 9:00 am, 10:00 am, and 11:00 am. Closed holidays.
Plan to Stay: 1.5 hours, including video, tour, gift shop, and café.
Minimum Age: None
Disabled Access: Yes
Group Requirements: With advance notice, can handle any size group, which will split into smaller ones for tour. Video shown in 140-seat auditorium.
Special Information: If you are interested in particular products, such as tortilla chips or cheese curls, call ahead for production schedule on day of your visit.
Gift Shop: Sells Herr’s food products; logoed clothing items; Nottingham, PA, T-shirts; scale model of Herr’s delivery truck; and Chipper the Chipmunk doll. Open Mon–Fri 8:00 am–5:00 pm. Call for extended holiday hours. Catalog available from above number.
Directions: From Philadelphia, take I-95 South to Rt. 322 West exit. From Rt. 322, turn left onto Rt. 1 South. Turn left onto Rt. 272 South and right at light onto Herr Dr. Factory and Visitors Center at end of road. From Baltimore, take I-95 North to Exit 100. Take Rt. 272 North. Turn left at light onto Herr Dr.
Nearby Attractions: Hagley Museum tour (see page 94), about 1 hour away; Longwood Gardens; Plumpton Park Zoo; Franklin Mint Museum; Brandywine River Museum; Lancaster County attractions about 30 miles away.