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From the death of tomato sauce crisps to vegan fast food burgers — 5 food surprises this year

21 December 2021 - 14:00
Woolworths released a new range of ice cream based on its popular Chuckles chocolate brand.
Woolworths released a new range of ice cream based on its popular Chuckles chocolate brand.
Image: Supplied/ Woolworths

From introducing new food flavours to removing favourite food items, the food retail industry was full of surprises this year.

It proved that like everything else, food is not immune to change and there is no harm in removing items off shelves that are no longer in demand, or bringing back items at the request of consumers. 

Here are five times the industry surprised us or left us completely shook:


Lay’s impressed many customers with its decision to restock the salt and vinegar flavour after discontinuing it last year.

The brand met criticism and pressure from diehard salt and vinegar fans after it confirmed the flavour would no longer be on the market.

In a surprise move in February, Lay’s made the unexpected announcement.

“I know I left things on a salty note, but I want to remind you I’m not your average snack. So much love. Clearly, I was sorely missed,” it said.


In October, Woolworths shocked customers more than it impressed when it announced a new addition to its shelves: fish sausages.

Who would have thought? The company said it had seen growing demand for seafood and decided to jump on the bandwagon. It said the product was well received by customers.

On Twitter, there were mixed responses from those who were keen to try it out and those who said fish sausages were a firm “no”. 


An online poll initiated by Simba, “Choose Me or Lose Me” #SaveYourFlava” campaign, resulted in the end of the tomato sauce flavour snack.

Simba asked the online community to vote between three flavours: salt and vinegar, tomato sauce and cheese and onion. It said the flavour with the least number of votes would be discontinued to make way for new flavours.

Tomato sauce received 18.01% of votes while salt and vinegar scored 37%. Cheese and onion was in the lead with 44.99%.


The fast food retailer introduced its first vegan range in September to give health-conscious customers the option to enjoy their favourite meals guilt-free.

The new additions were the plant-based Whopper and the Vegan Royale, both said to contain 0% meat and 100% plant-based ingredients. 

After tasting the new flavours and comparing them to meat options, the Sunday Times verdict was that it was easy to distinguish between the chicken burger and the Vegan Royale, which is made with a blend of soy, wheat protein and wheat starch.

The sandwich was OK, thanks to the vegan mayo.


Last month, Woolies had its customers complaining, not about the new Chuckles ice cream range, but about their efforts to eat healthily and lose weight.

The retailer introduced a Chuckles chocolate ice cream derived from its Chuckles chocolate brand.

Customers could not be happier.

“This ice cream is all I could think about on my drive home,” said one.

Another was concerned about their weight, saying “Oh no, we are trying to lose weight guys”, with a laughing face emoji. 


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