Lay’s Company has ~50% market share in the Indian potato chips business. It has become everyone’s favorite irrespective of age. Let’s see what is the strategy story of Lay’s Company in India.

Some History of Lay’s Company

Lay’s was first sold in 1932 by a salesman Herman Lay in Nashville, Tennessee (U.S.). He was a traveling salesman who sold his chips from the back of the car on the road during the Great Depression. The inventor always believed in providing quality snack to the consumers at affordable prices.

Mr. Lays went on to find his own Company, ‘Barrett Food Company”, which was later renamed H.W. Lay Lingo & Company. During the same time, another chip founder Charles E. Doolin, who fell in love with corn chips or Fritos ( in Spanish, it meant fried), and found ‘The Frito Company.

Later on, Lay’s Company merged with Frito Lay in 1961 to become “Frito-Lay”. And finally the new company merged with PepsiCo in 1965. It was one of the first brands to be promoted on television, with an animated character named ‘Oscar-The Happy Potato.’ It has remained to be one of the most famous salty snacks for the past 75 years.

Frito-Lay - The H.W. Lay & Company becomes one of the first snack food  companies to advertise on television. The commercial features the debut of  the company's first animated character, "Oscar, the

Lay’s Company in the Indian Market

It was first launched in India in 1995 and within 5 years became one of the largest players in the potato chip market. Before being launched in India in 1995, Uncle Chips ruled almost every Indian’s heart. However, in only five years, Lay’s was established as the primary competitor of ‘Uncle Chips’ and went on to become the largest chip company in the Indian Market.

The reason it was able to establish a strong foothold in the Indian Market was due to its diversity and adaptation strategy. It was able to adjust itself in the Indian market based on the geographical locations and the citizen’s taste buds—one of the most iconic flavors of it being Magic Masala (literally means Magic Spice).

Affordable packet sizes were introduced for various occasions ranging Rs.5, Rs.10, Rs.20, and Rs.25. As per research, more than 72% of people found the price worthy. As per Statista Lay’s had 50% Market share of potato chips in India in 2016.

Lay’s adapted to Indian Taste

Various flavors were introduced by Lay’s to suit both the Indian as well as Western cultures. Some of the most famous being:-

  • Magic Masala
  • Tangy Tomato
  • Mastana Mango
  • Classic Salt
  • American Style Cream & Onion.
  • Chat Chaska

For those who are quite health-conscious, a baked version with 50% less fat was also introduced.

Furthermore, Lay’s also planned to crowdsource its flavors or vote for the most desirable/favorite flavor which the Company should introduce in the market.

Read: What is Haldiram’s story? How it became the largest snack seller?

Witty Marketing Campaigns of Lay’s

Their Tagline “No one can eat just one” has worked like a charm. One of the most famous ones was ‘Fight for your flavor’ allowing the audience themselves to select the flavors.

The most iconic campaign ‘Fight for your Flavour’ was introduced that starred M.S Dhoni and Saif Ali Khan who were appointed as the ambassadors to attract the audience who is a massive fan of both Bollywood and cricket.

The recent one being Dilogical (Dil- Heart, being logical from the heart), where it introduced the Lime and Masti Masala flavor (literally meaning Lime and fun spice).
IPL, the one season that Indian households look forward became the theme in 2003, 2007, and 2011. Even the most famous election took place in 2014.

As of 2019, Lay’s Company initiated another campaign, ‘Smile’. This campaign was customized as per the demographical market. The USA adopted the theme of mental health, which has become an important issue, especially during the pandemic.

In contrast, India adopted the theme of Bollywood, cricket, and taste. Like Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, celebrities were appointed as brand ambassadors and through a song and choreography, ‘Smile Deke Dekho’. The song was released on October 2 on the occasion of ‘World Smile Day’. It further took the help of around 750 influencers on how just sharing a snack can build up a bond between humans. Also, it changed the packaging by inserting the influencer’s smile. 

Some Fun Facts about Lay’s Company

  • There are total 200 flavors of Lay’s all over the world
  • There have been several competitions held by Lay’s where it would reward $1 million to anyone who would come up with an interesting or a unique flavor.
  • It is one of the first snacks which was advertised on Television back in 1944 and has been one of the most famous salty snacks for 75 years.
  • Some of the most unique flavors are Cappuccino, a vegetable soup, and Beer n Brats.


Lay’s continues to rule the hearts of many because it is easily accessible to the public and diversifies its flavors by being updated with the consumers’ tastes. Also, it has been successful in providing its consumers with high-quality chips from fresh potatoes.

Also, it has been complimentary to today’s fast-paced lifestyle, especially of the youth. It was claimed that Lay’s alone had almost 50% share in the potato chip market in India in 2016,. Thus, it is considered to be the most sold chips in India due to its multiple flavours.

Recently Lay’s India had also taken on Twitter and initiated the campaign #Heartwork of thanking all the heroes or the frontline workers who worked so hard for our safety during these difficult times of the pandemic. 

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Kashish M is an Undergraduate student from the Middle East. Apart from listening songs and learning new languages and exploring different culture over time she developed interests in writing and gained interest in exploring different parts of the accounting/finance world.

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