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Made in WNY: Don’t Forget the Dip!

It’s picnic time in Western New York and one of our picnic staples is Bison Brand Chip Dip.  Nationally “chips and dip” began to rise in popularity in the 1950s when Lipton began advertising a recipe for making dip with its onion soup mix to be served with potato chips.  Bison Foods introduced its own Bison Brand Chip Dip in 1958 and it became an immediate hit.

Bison Foods Co. was founded by Abraham Biltekoff in 1924 as a manufacturer and distributor of sour cream, cottage cheese, and yogurt products.  Bison Foods grew from a 6-person company to 105 employees and distribution throughout the Northeast.  In 1983 Upstate Niagara Cooperative, a dairy cooperative formed in 1965 and headquartered in Buffalo acquired Bison Foods.  The cooperative is owned by 270 family farms in Western and Central New York and operates 8 plants.  Chip Dip is produced at its culture facility in West Seneca.

Upstate Niagara produces over 3 million pounds of chip dip annually, most of which is consumed in Western New York.  Internal research shows that Western New Yorkers consume twice as much dip as people in other areas of the country.  Although ex-patriots have asked for chip dip to be shipped to stores in their areas, the company feels the demand is not great enough to ship it long distances due to its short shelf life.  Bison Brand Chip Dip fans who live in states with Wegmans stores, however, can find the dip at Wegmans locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and North Carolina.


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