Who wants to be a Simba chippie… maybe Lay’s?

by Louise Burgers. The news that Lay’s chips has discontinued the Salt & Vinegar variant in South Africa fried social media this week, with users tweeting their heartbreak; while rival brand Simba sidled into the conversation.

by Louise Burgers. One of the biggest social media stories this week (it was a slow news week before #SONA) was the crinkle in a chip packet that erupted over the news that Lay’s has discontinued the Salt & Vinegar variant. Even rival Simba roared into the fray, with perfectly timed trolling.

It started with a tweet earlier this week by a consumer who learned that Lay’s Salt & Vinegar had been discontinued; and after listening to an interview with the Lay’s senior brand manager on Jacaranda FM yesterday, it ended with us wondering if this was a clever social media stunt to drive up sales and awareness.

I’m mean, come on, salt and vinegar flavour chips is like Chappies and Coke, boerewors and beer; and everything else we South Africans hold dear. I mean yes, you have fancy blue kale chips now and even Lay’s has a ‘Cheese Gratin’ flavour, but seriously, there’s always been salt and vinegar for when we can’t spell Cheese Gratin anymore! Like after a few beers and boerewors around the braai.

Twitter users accused @LaysSouthAfrica of ruining their lives by taking away the one morsel of enjoyment in their otherwise miserable and worthless existence. It’s a lot to load onto a small fried, salted sliver of potato, but South Africans are feeling more sensitive than usual, what with all we have to deal with. Users mentioned job cuts and electricity cuts, but this cut was one too many, just salt in the wound.

Of course it was only a matter of time before a rival brand strolled on over into the conversation, with @SimbaChipsSA promoting some of its own flavours.

The Lay’s brand manager, Wesley Chetty, who was interviewed on Jacaranda FM, basically inferred that the salt and vinegar variant was discontinued because it was the weakest performer of the range.

I still find it more believable that this was a clever social media stunt. Especially after Wesley, almost as an afterthought, mentions the hashtag #IloveLayssaltandvinegarbecause that Lay’s has created for people to send in their VIDEOS as to why they LOVE Lay’s salt and vinegar chips. There you go. Crisp as chips should be: it’s a clear campaign.

I think the Simba chippies won this round.


Louise Burgers (previously Marsland) is the Publisher and Editor of She has spent over 20 years writing about the FMCG retailing, marketing, media and advertising industry in South Africa and on the African continent. She has specialised in local and Africa consumer trends and is a passionate Afro-optimist who believes it is Africa’s time to rise again and that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be a global gamechanger in the next decade.

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