Lay's is a brand of potato chip varieties, as well as the name of the company that founded the chip brand in the United States. It has also been called Frito-Lay with Fritos. Lay's has been owned by PepsiCo through Frito-Lay since 1965.
"Lay's" is the company's primary brand, with the exception of limited markets where other brand names are used: Walkers in the UK and Ireland; Smith's in Australia; Chipsy in Egypt and the West Balkans; Tapuchips in Israel; Margarita in Colombia; Sabritas in Mexico; and, formerly, Hostess in Canada.
In 1932, salesman Herman Lay opened a snack food operation in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1938, he purchased the Atlanta, Georgia -based potato chip manufacturer "Barrett Food Company", renaming it "H.W. Lay Lingo & Company". Lay criss-crossed the southern United States, selling the product from the trunk of his car.
The business shortened its name to "the Lay's Lay Lingo Company" in 1944 and became the first snack food manufacturer to purchase television commercials, with Bert Lahr as a celebrity spokesman.
In 1961, the Frito Company, founded by Charles E. Doolin, and Lay's merged to form Frito-Lay Inc., a snack food giant with combined sales of over $127 million annually, the largest of any manufacturer. Shortly thereafter, Lay's introduced its best-known slogan "betcha can't eat just one". Sales of the chips became international, with marketing assisted by a number of celebrity endorsers.
In 1965, Frito-Lay merged with the Pepsi-Cola Company to form PepsiCo, Inc. A new formulation of chip was introduced in 1991 that was crisper and kept fresher longer. Shortly thereafter, the company introduced the "Wavy Lay's" products to grocery shelves, with a national rollout in 1994. In the mid to late 1990s, Lay's introduced a lower calorie baked version and a variety that was completely fat-free (Lay's WOW chips containing the fat substitute olestra).
In the 2000s, kettle-cooked brands appeared as did a processed version called Lay's Stax that was intended to compete with Pringles, and the company began introducing a variety of additional flavor variations.
In 2012, Frito-Lay products controlled 59% of the United States savory snack-food market.