Lay's Salt and Vinegar: back – for now
  • The Lay's Salt & Vinegar flavor is officially back on South African shelves – temporarily.
  • Makers Pepsico finally explained why the previously discontinued chips have been spotted in stores again.
  • Salt and vinegar is part of a UEFA Champion’s League 2021 campaign, the company says.
  • That means the blue backs are back "for a limited time", and the company is sticking to its business philosophy that saw it canned in the first place.
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The famous blue Lay's Salt & Vinegar flavor chips is only due to be back on sale in South Africa temporarily, makers Pepsico says – and the strategy that saw it discontinued has not changed.

South Africans have reported sightings on the supposedly discontinued potato crisps for weeks, but Pepsico only explained the reappearance – and cautioned on its nature – in a statement on Monday.

"Lay’s Salt and vinegar will be available in all retailers for a limited period," it said in a statement. "This co-incides with the rollout of our Local Lay’s UEFA Champion’s League 2021 campaign."

In February 2020 some South Africans launched a petition to demand the Lay's salt and vinegar should be retained, after the decision to can it was announced. But the petition never reached its 1,500 target signatures, and Twitter laments seemed to come from a small group of people.

South Africans prefer spicier flavours, Lay's said at the time, and the plainer salt and vinegar was under-performing in sales.

See also | Lay's says South Africans prefer a different kind of chips than the rest of the world. Here’s our favourite flavour

But on Monday the company said it had "listened to our consumers" and "wanted to give them another chance to indulge in this  exceptional flavour experience" – while sticking to the business strategy that saw Lay's salt and vinegar cancelled in the first place. 

"Sometimes when certain flavours overtake others in the race to be consumers' favourite, then as a business we must make tough choices about which flavours to prioritise over others," said Lay's marketing director Agnes Kitololo – before emphasising the "limited edition" nature of the comeback.

Broadly speaking the rest of the world tends to prefer cheesy flavours of potato crisps, according to Lay's, while South Africans are disproportionately fond of the likes of Thai sweet chilli, and vinegar-and-onion flavours.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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