Luxury potato chip markets in everything truffle seaweed from the waters around the Faroe Islands edition

They cost $11 a piece and come in boxes of 5:

In an attempt to create a special snack to go with their high quality beer, Sweetish brewery St. Erik’s has created the world’s most expensive potato chips.

Apparently, St. Erik’s didn’t think Lays or Pringles chips were good enough to pair with their ale, so they decided to create their own exclusive snack and price it accordingly. “St. Erik’s Brewery is one of Sweden’s leading microbreweries and we’re passionate about the craftsmanship that goes into our beer. At the same time, we felt that we were missing a snack of the same status to serve with it,” brand manager Marcus Friari said in a statement. “A first-­class beer deserves a first-­class snack, and this is why we made a major effort to produce the world’s most exclusive potato chips. We’re incredibly proud to be able to present such a crispy outcome.”

The luxurious black box designed by St. Erik’s contains just five individual potato chips, each made by hand by a chef, using five special Nordic ingredients – Matsutake mushroom picked from pine forests in northern Sweden, truffle seaweed from the waters around the Faroe Islands, Crown Dill hand-picked on the Bjäre Peninsula, Leksand Onion grown on the outskirt of the small Swedish town of  Leksand and India Pale Ale Wort, the same kind used to make St. Erik’s Pale Ale beer.

The potatoes themselves, are also special. They apparently come “from the potato hillside in Ammarnäs, a steep, stony slope in a south-facing location where almond potatoes are cultivated in very limited numbers. The slope is difficult for modern agricultural machines to access, which means that all potatoes are planted and harvested by hand.”

Here is further information, via Michael Rosenwald, and here is another source, via Mark Thorson.

The first batch sold out almost immediately, and it is unclear when more will be produced.


Bet you can't eat just one

well played

Gives lie to the Adam Smith observation about making a pin using mass production, and to Leonard E. Read's short story, "I, Pencil". Yes we *do* know all the steps on how a potato chip is made, and who makes it (and it shows in the price). Another way to look at this is that it's a fraud, that the chips are inferior to Lay's or Pringles', and this is nothing more than a gimmick along the lines of that Beverly Hills, California clothing store that promises customers they will buy the absolutely *highest* priced clothing, guaranteed, or your money back, as a Giffen Good .

But we don't know all the steps! Not even close! How do you make a potato peeler, or the oarlock on the boat that harvests truffle seaweed, or the coffee that the farmer drinks, or the trowel that digs the potatoes out of the ground?

Man, I don't care how pretentious they are, those chips sound seriously delicious. Hell there's 'gourmet' everything else...I bet those taste really good.

If St Erik's beer is so good, why pair it with a potato chip. Caviar, perhaps, but not the lowly potato chip. Millions a day pay $4 for a cup of mud water, so why not $11 for a potato chip. But it's still a potato chip, no matter what the price. Champagne and caviar: the choice of the cultured. Beer and potato chips: the choice of the philistine.

Caviar? The bramble jam that tastes of fish?

"Mud water"? Are you nuts? I, sir, pay 4 dollars several times a week for a delicious latte, made just the way I want it, from a fine mix of perfectly roasted beans.

Which previously occupied the digestive tract of a civet, or so they say.

Markets in Everything: $2,500 for a ticket to Hamilton. My low country community recently experienced a hurricane, Hurricane Matthew to be exact. While the feared 13 foot storm surge was averted, hurricane force winds were not, toppling hundreds, hundreds of trees, many falling on homes, or threatening to fall on homes. Desperate people seeking help from tree services created an opportunity, a market if you will, in price gouging for tree cutters. What would normally cost $1,000, now cost $5,000. Indeed, home owners and the expensive resort nearby engaged in bidding wars for the cutters. With a wedding scheduled this weekend at the resort, it has monopolized the cutters' time clearing the grounds for the well-to-do fly-in (in their private jets) guests who will attend and stay for the weekend at the resort. That uprooted trees continue to threaten homes can't be compared to debris on the ground that might detract from the beauty of the meticulous landscaping for the fly-in guests to marvel. What would Professor Mankiw pay for a tree cutter to save his home? $2,500? $5,000? $10,000? Would he be willing to match the price offered by a nearby resort to clear the grounds for the wedding of a hedge fund billionaire's daughter? Or would he let the trees fall where they may?

"I paid $2,500 a ticket, about five times their face value." The uneconomical economist.

The ability of the market to efficiently allocate scarce resources via the price mechanism really is quite amazing. But I think it works best when the dollars used in the bidding are similarly valued by those making the bids. Under high levels of inequality those same dollar amounts start to mean very different things. A dollar amount that seems astronomical to one may be just a pittance to someone else.

Your hundred dollar bills are like pennies to me. I'll spend a fraction of a penny for some chips.

The comedian Jay Leno learned this lesson some years ago. In 2009, while the economy was suffering through the Great Recession, Mr. Leno, a car enthusiast, generously performed two free “Comedy Stimulus” shows for unemployed workers near Detroit.

Yet zero is not, as economists put it, the equilibrium price to see a live performance by Jay Leno. Some of the unemployed who received free tickets tried to turn around and sell them on eBay for about $800. When Mr. Leno learned about this, he objected, and eBay agreed to take down offers to resell the tickets.

But why should Mr. Leno have objected? Some unemployed workers, presumably short on cash, thought that the $800 in their pockets was more valuable than an evening of laughs. Similarly, the ticket buyers would voluntarily give up their $800 for a seat. The transaction makes both buyer and seller better off. That is how free markets are supposed to work.

Harvard learned this lesson some years ago. In 2009, it admitted a new freshman class, many of whom received substantial financial aid, including even free tuition.

Yet zero is not, as economists put it, the equilibrium price fro a Harvard education. Some of those admitted tried to turn around and sell their acceptances on eBay. When Harvard learned about this, it objected, and eBay agreed to take down offers to resell the admissions.

But why should Harvard have objected? Some high school seniors, presumably short on cash, thought that the money in their pockets was more valuable than a Harvard education. Similarly, the buyers would voluntarily give up the price for a seat at the university. The transaction makes both buyer and seller better off. That is how free markets are supposed to work.

How exactly do you sell a Harvard acceptance? The university makes their offer to a specific candidate and has no obligation to accept another person (who was likely unable to pass muster via their own skills).

Their next edition will be puffin-flavoured.

When it comes to beer and snacks while watching Sunday afternoon football, I prefer quantity over quality.

I mean, it doesn't mater how tasty and rare are those chips, they come in boxes of 5, for God sakes! :-)

And besides, there is little chance you are going to impress any girls by sitting on the couch, watching the match and eating extra-expensive and extra rare snacks. :-) :-)

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