Food and Drink

Walkers vs. Lay’s: What’s the Difference in the UK vs. the US?

Walkers and Lay's crisps

If you’ve come across the crisps’ brand Lay’s and Walkers it may have had you scratching your head slightly. Aside from the distinction between crisps and chips in the UK and US, there is in fact a connection between these famous brands.

The question “Are Lay’s and Walkers the same?” is such a popular discussion online that we’ve written an article to set the rumours straight.

Why Do People Confuse Lay’s and Walkers?

People confuse Walkers and Lay’s all the time, and rightly so. Both brands are owned by PepsiCo, which acquired Frito-Lay in 1965 and Walkers in 1989. So both brands have been under Pepsi for at least 30 years. So question is, why did PepsiCo not rebrand both under the same name to avoid this confusion?

But this confusion is exactly why, Lay’s and Walkers both remain their own household names to this day. Each had built their own following and loyalty amongst their customers in the US and UK markets respectively. Changing the names of the brands would do nothing but cause more confusion.

Lay’s and Walkers aren’t the only crisp brands that PepsiCo have acquired that differ by region. Below is a table on how Walkers and Lay’s are marketed in different countries to help you keep track.

CountryName
United Kingdom and IrelandWalkers
United States of AmericaLay’s
CanadaLay’s, previously Hostess
AustraliaSmith’s Crisps and Smith’s Crinkles
ArgentinaLay’s, previously Frenchitas
BeneluxLay’s, previously Smiths
BrazilLay’s Sensações, previously Sensações
ColombiaMargarita 
EgyptChipsy
IndiaLay’s, previously Ruffles Lay’s
IsraelTapuchips
MexicoSabritas
PakistanLay’s
SerbiaChipsy
South AfricaLay’s, distributed by Simba Chip Company
United Arab EmiratesLay’s
VietnamLay’s, previously Poca

What are the Differences Between Lay’s and Walkers?

Walkers and Lay’s. Lay’s and Walkers. What’s the difference? Turns out a few things.

Distribution

Unlike Walkers, Lay’s is a global brand that is present in over 200 countries around the world. While Walkers only distributes in the UK and Ireland, Lay’s can be found in America, Canada, Argentina and many more places.

Lay’s success in such a crowded market can be attributed to its clever marketing, as well as being a consistently quality product. Not to mention, they’ve had several celebrity endorsements from big names such as Annita (a Brazillian Grammy-nominated artist), Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen, Lionel Messi, and even Mr. Potato Head.

As well as this, Lay’s has proven time and time again why it’s a top dog in the snacks industry. Lay’s has no problem revolutionising the crisps (or chips market), helping to keep up with ever-changing customer preferences.

Most recently, Lay’s introduced new ways to snack with Poppables and Stax. Poppables are described as ‘light and airy potato puffs’ while Stax are more comparable to the likes of Pringles. Alongside new ways to eat, Lay’s has listened to pleas around healthy snacks, introducing the Baked range, a selection of low salt and fat crisps.

Flavours

Of course, there are flavours that are present in both Walkers and Lay’s such as Salt & Vinegar and Ready Salted (or Original in Lay’s’ case), but there are also flavours which are specific to each brand.

Walkers’ Flavours

It may be surprising to find out that Cheese and Onion, a British staple, is only available as one of Walkers’ flavours. Lay’s has Cheddar and Sour Cream, and Sour Cream and Onion, which are close, but not an exact match.

Other flavours you can only get in the UK are Crispy Chicken and Smoky Bacon, which is surprising considering how popular meat and meat-flavoured things are in America.

Not to mention, Walkers has recently brought out a range partnering with restaurants across the UK; Fish and Chips, Madras Curry, Thai Green Curry, and Chicken Burrito. Which ironically couldn’t get any more British. And we’re not even going to get into Marmite and Worcestershire Sauce.

Walkers has also expanded into other crisp brands as well, most notably; Wotsits, Quavers, and Monster Munch – all with their own flavour ranges.

Lay’s Flavours

One flavour that is specific to Lay’s however is Limón. Yes, you heard that right, Lemon – a citrus-flavoured crisp. While they may sound odd, they’re really popular in America, so it might be worth trying one and seeing for yourself.

Unsurprisingly, BBQ while popular in the UK, is one of, if not the most popular flavour in the US with Lay’s. So popular that, the Baked collection in Lay’s has BBQ as one of their small selection, whereas Walkers does not.

Lay’s have also taken the leap into a different market entirely creating their own range of dips. They only have two flavours, French Onion and Smooth Ranch, but that’s not to say they can’t make more.

Portion Sizes

As with all crisp brands, Walkers and Lay’s are both available in different sizes. This includes the smallest packet all the way up to the larger share packet.

Here are the five sizes available for Walkers in the UK:

  • 25-gram pack (multipack)
  • 32.5-gram pack
  • 45-gram pack
  • 65-gram pack
  • 175-gram (sharing pack)

And here are the four sizes available for Lay’s in the US:

  • 28-gram pack (multipack)
  • 78-gram pack
  • 226-gram pack
  • 368-gram pack (sharing pack)

It’s fair to say that the US sizes ramp up quite quickly and more dramatically than the UK sizes. Not including the fact that Lay’s second largest size is just shy of 30% larger than Walkers’ largest share pack. This isn’t entirely surprising considering portion sizes in the UK compared to the US, but still interesting to compare nonetheless.

Branding

The visuals is the one difference that is not super overstated, hence the confusion around Lay’s and Walkers to begin with. The logo is pretty much exactly the same, apart from the name. The same yellow sun, the same red ribbon, just a different font, and a different name – that’s pretty much it.

There are slight differences, like the fact that Walkers capitalise their name on the packet, whereas Lay’s do not, and Lay’s have pictures of food on the packet, whereas Walkers do not.

But with that being said the branding is practically identical, so much so, you might not even notice a difference on the shelf.

Final Thoughts from UK vs. USA

It’s understandable why there are so many questions around the similarities between Walkers and Lay’s. Turns out, they’re just very similar crisps brands and are both owned by Pepsi. The flavours, packaging, and portions are for the most part, quite different.

Walkers vs. Lay’s FAQ:

Can you buy Lay’s crisps in the UK?

Yes, you can buy Lay’s crisps in the UK. The easiest way to do so is to purchase online, with numerous retailers selling them such as Amazon, SoSweet, and Candy Mail UK.

Which came first, Walkers or Lay’s?

Walkers was founded in 1948, whereas Frito Lay started in the early 1930s as two separate companies, “The Frito Company” and “H.W. Lay & Company”, which then merged in 1961.

Walkers was then acquired by Pepsi in 1989 and Frito Lay in 1965. So technically, Lay’s came first and was acquired first, but Walkers was introduced first as the brand we know today.

Who owns Lay’s and Walkers?

PepsiCo owns both Lay’s and Walkers, acquiring Frito Lay in 1965 and Walkers in 1989.

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