• Lay's this week confirmed that its salt and vinegar flavour has been canned due to weak sales.
  • The world's biggest chips brand says while the rest of the world generally prefer cheesier flavours, South Africans have a clear preference for spicy chips.
  • Still, plain salted chips remain the top seller for Lay's locally, followed by its Caribbean onion and balsamic vinegar flavour.
  • For more, go to Business Insider South Africa.

Lay's decision to can its salt and vinegar chips after weak sales has caused a stir among South African chip lovers, who generally prefer spicier flavours than the rest of the world.

“At the end of 2019, Lay’s Salt and Vinegar flavoured potato chips were not performing as well from a sales perspective vis-à-vis the other flavours in our range – which, amongst other insights, led us to believe that our consumers liked other flavours better,” a spokesperson told Business Insider South Africa.

“The business had to take a tough call on whether it was time to give that ‘share of shelf space’ to an alternative, better-performing flavour – which is why we have discontinued the Lay’s Salt and Vinegar flavoured chips.”

The decision was met with some despair on social media:

An online petition has also been started on Change.org to convince Lay's to reconsider its decision. "Salt and Vinegar isn't just a flavour, it's South Africa's flavour," according to the petition organisers.

Lay’s is the world’s biggest chip brand, on sale in 100 countries.

It says that South Africans have a specific preference when it comes to chip flavours.

In South Africa, spicy flavours tend to do well, whereas (broadly speaking)  in the rest of the world cheesy flavours tend to fare better, a spokesperson said.

The top-selling Lay’s chips remain the salted flavour, but the Caribbean onion and balsamic vinegar, and Thai sweet chilli are close contenders. Lay’s says new flavours are planned for South Africa.

Lay’s is owned by Pepsico, which bought South African chips brand Simba twenty years ago.

The US giant is nearing the completion of a deal to buy Pioneer Foods, which owns Bokomo cereals, Liqui Fruit, Ceres Fruit Juice, SASKO bread, Safari dried fruit, Spekko and White Star maize.

Read: We tried McDonalds’ new chilli cheese fries – and they don’t have the kick of RocoMamas

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