Lay’s found selling chips below advertised weight

MyBroadband recently bought a 36-gram pack of Lay’s Portuguese Peri-Peri Prawns chips only to find that it weighed 30% less than advertised.

Fortunately, we became suspicious the packet was much lighter than it should be before opening it and could weigh it still-sealed to confirm.

Repeated measurements on our kitchen scale showed that the bag weighed 25 grams — much less than the advertised weight.

We tested our kitchen scale for accuracy and repeatability. It proved 100% repeatable, with an accuracy of 1g.

We also tested various products on the scale, including Bakers Mini Cheddars and a Cadbury P.S. chocolate. They all weighed within a gram of the weight stated on their packaging.

The video below shows the results of one set of measurements on the scale.

Lay’s is a sub-brand of Simba, which Pepsico owns.

We contacted Pepsico for comment, and the company said the bag we were sold was not a common occurrence at all.

“We have investigated this particular pack, using the production code visible on the image sent and can confirm it was produced on 12 November 2022 at our Isando plant,” a spokesperson for the company told MyBroadband.

“It is one of 72,576 packs produced on that day of 36g Lay’s Portuguese Peri-Peri prawn flavour. This is the only query we have received related to a suspected underweight pack.”

Pepsico said it has strict controls to ensure it meets the required standards within its production facilities.

“In this case, it is SANS 458 of 2011 that applies, specifically: Tolerances permitted for the accuracy of measurements of products (including pre-packaged products) in terms of legal metrology legislation,” it stated.

Pepsico said it has several processes on the production line to ensure standards are adhered to. These include, but are not limited to:

  • A quality team that conducts hourly checks on a random selection of 10 packs off the line to ensure weight consistency.
  • Scales are calibrated bi-annually by an external laboratory to ensure accuracy.
  • Case checkers inspect random cases hourly for the total weight of the case.
  • Every four hours, there is a quality ‘wall’ run that checks the processing quality (flavour, breakage of each chip etc.) and the packaging quality (seals on packs, weight, barcodes, etc.).
  • The senior quality team conducts random checks throughout each shift to verify each of the above checks.
  • There is a full verification run each time there is a flavour change on the production line.

Pepsico said it monitors against the tolerances specified by SANS 458.

We weighed bags of chips to test if you get what you pay for

Asked what consumers should do if they detect an error like this, Pepsico said the quickest way to resolve it is to return the packet to the retailer they purchased it from for a replacement or a refund.

“However, if the pack was purchased from a small store or tuck shop, then they may find it difficult to do this,” said Pepsico.

“In that case, they should contact our consumer care team — the details of which are printed on the back of every product.”

The consumer team will ask for the batch detail information to investigate.

“The degree to which this appears to be underweight is a highly unusual case, and we would love to be able to investigate the actual pack in question,” said Pepsico.

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Lay’s found selling chips below advertised weight