Vacuum Fried Pickle Chips.
Vlasic®'s vacuum-fried pickle chips are not "freeze dried" pickle chips, they are actually vacuum "fried" pickle chips.
From what Conagra Brands Co-Chief Operating Officer, Tom McGough presented at the April 10, 2019 Investor Day event, the new Vlasic® dill pickle chips, will be "vacuum-fried."
So what does vacuum fried mean? According to Wikipedia, "A vacuum fryer is a deep-frying device housed inside a vacuum chamber..."
"With vacuum frying it is easier to maintain natural colors and flavours of the finished product. Due to the lower temperatures applied (approx. 130 °C (266 °F)), the formation of suspected carcinogen acrylamide is significantly lower than in standard atmospheric fryers, where the frying temperature is approx. 170 °C (338 °F). The fat absorption of the products is also reported to be lower than in atmospheric fryers."
There are also "continuous vacuum fryers" which we assume will be used in the production of the new Vlasic® original dill pickle chips.
"For larger production quantities, continuous vacuum fryers are available. In these installations, the vacuum frying pan is installed in a stainless steel vacuum tube. The infeed of the raw product is carried out through a rotary airlock. Depending on the application, the frying pan itself is designed to meet the different product specifications. A transport belt takes the finished product out of the fryer and towards the outfeed system. A lock chamber at the exit of the vacuum tube prevents air from entering the vacuum zone, and a belt system takes the product from one zone to another.
The vacuum is created by vacuum pumps, and the whole system is controlled by a programmable logic controller.
In batch fryers, the frying oil has to be replaced quite often as it is sensitive to temperature changes. Continuous vacuum fryers lead to a longer lifetime of the frying oil and therefore lower the production costs. Vacuum fryers can also reduce oil content in fried foods. The amount of reduced oil content, usually 1–3%, depends on the type of vacuum fryer."
Vacuum Fryer article on Wikipedia
To get an idea of what vacuum frying looks like, take a look at how they vacuum fry chips from beet, pumpkin and carrots, below.