What's cooking this week: Lay's Salt & Vinegar crisps are back but not for good

Our food editor fills you in on the latest in the world of food and wine

25 February 2021 - 09:01 By hilary biller
Lay's Salt & Vinegar potato chips are back on SA shelves in the form of a limited edition. File photo.
Lay's Salt & Vinegar potato chips are back on SA shelves in the form of a limited edition. File photo.
Image: 123RF/robstark

What is it about salt and vinegar flavouring — and particularly on chips — that makes it so addictive?

Such is our love of this classic combination that Mzansi lobbied to have PepsiCo bring back Lay’s Salt & Vinegar potato chips after they discontinued them in February 2020.

Thanks to the power (and persistence) of the people, a year later this snack is back on shelves, which has caused much rejoicing on social media.

Be warned though, these crisps are a “limited edition” says Lay’s marketing director Agnes Kitololo, so stock up while you can.

The next time you tear open a packet, ask the person you're sharing them with to ponder this: if you splash vinegar on slap chips it makes them soggy, so how come this doesn’t happen with crisps?

The answer is that the vinegar (acetic acid) is sprayed on to maltodextrin, a flavourless powder made from starch, which is dried and used to flavour crisps thus giving them that distinctive taste without the moisture.

As for why salt and vinegar is so beloved in SA, I leave you with this thought: these same flavourings are used to make another of our favourite snacks, biltong.

To preserve the raw meat, it’s steeped in a mixture of salt and vinegar overnight before being spiced and hung out to dry.


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