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Lay’s flavored potato chip bags have fewer chips inside than Regular Lay's

Lay's Classic
July 24, 2014
This is going to ruffle a few feathers.

PepsiCo purposely packs fewer chips into its flavored chip bags, Hugh Johnston, the company's CFO, told the Associated Press. "There might be an ounce or two less [in those bags]," Johnston said.

Actually, it's half an ounce less. Regular Lay's (Classic) are sold in 10-ounce bags; flavored Lay's are sold in 9.5-ounce bags; and both are sold for the same $4.29 price.

That might not sound like a lot, but it will with a bit of simple math.

Americans buy some $1.6 billion worth of Lay's potato chips every year. Much of that is sold in bulk—or merely in bags bigger than the standard ones mentioned above. But let's assume for a second that those 10-ounce bags are the only ones Lay's sells. That would mean the company sells more than 372 million bags of Lay's in the U.S. each year—or 3.72 billion ounces of chips, at 43 cents per ounce. It would also mean that that half ounce difference is worth 21.5 cents per bag, and more than $80 million in total per year.

That number is likely a good deal lower, but it's not entirely unreasonable. If Lay's is charging a premium for the smaller flavored chip bags, it's likely doing the same for the bigger ones, too. That tiny half-ounce tweak might only mean a potato chip or two to you, but it's probably worth tens of millions to PepsiCo annually.

PepsiCo confirmed that flavored and unflavored Lay's chips are sold for the same price, but not in the same quantity. "This allows us to keep the same price point across the brand," Jeff Dahncke said in an e-mail. He also suggested that the chip difference has nothing to do with extra profit. "The reason there is a slightly higher price per ounce for flavored chips is the added seasonings," he said.
Companies in this Article
Frito-Lay North America (FLNA) includes Pepsico's snack operations in the United States and Canada where the company dominates the market with a range of savory snacks brands including Lay's, Ruffles, Doritos, Tostitos, Fritos, Cheetos and Sunchips
PepsiCo is one of the world's leading food and beverage companies with over $65 billion in net revenue in 2012 and a global portfolio of brands, including several savory snack brands.
PepsiCo Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA), includes all beverage, food and snack businesses in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, excluding South Africa.
PepsiCo Europe Sub-Saharan Africa (ESSA) includes all of our beverage, food and snack businesses in Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.
PepsiCo entered India in 1989 and in a short period, has grown into one of the largest food and beverage businesses in the country.