• Shaun Bateman

Chili-Chippi: SA’s favourite 64-year-old

At 64-years old, the Messaris Chili-Chippi, remains a popular choice in the Messaris stable.

Messaris Nuts and Crisps bears the unique distinction of being the oldest potato crisp manufacturer in South Africa. Established in 1948, the company primarily focussed on manufacturing potato crisps and packing nuts, and their very first potato crisp, the Messaris Chili-Chippi, is to this day a firm favourite with South African snackaholics.

According to Mikhail Messaris, the humble Chili-Chippi, which proudly carries the status of being the very first flavoured potato crisp in South Africa, first saw the light of day in 1956, and immediately took the local snack market by storm.

“While our potato crisp range has over the years grown to now include well over 25 flavour variants, the Chili-Chippi is still very popular,” says Mikhail, adding that, in addition to the unique spicy taste of the Chili-Chippi, nostalgic value also contributes to the continued popularity of the product.

“South Africans have a definite preference for spicy flavours, as proven by numerous customer surveys and polls conducted over the years.” says Mikhail. “And many customers have shared fond memories with us, recalling how they used to eat Chili-Chippi as kids. And so the popularity of the product just keeps growing as kids discover the product through their parents.”

At 64-years old, the Messaris Chili-Chippi, while no longer a new kid on the block, remains a popular choice in the Messaris stable, with its tried and tested formula which has more than stood the test of time.

The company is well-known for producing delicious, interesting and unique flavours such as their Greek Islands potato crisp range, which consists of four variants: Feta & Olive, Tomato & Olive, Origanum & Olive, and Greek Lamb.

Messaris potato crisps, including the Chili-Chippi, come in three different sizes, namely the small 30g packet, the popular 125g packet, and the big 300g entertainer pack. “The very large pack is ideal for parties, functions, and of course, a Heritage Day (Braai day) celebration, where it can easily keep the whole family munching,” says Mikhail.

Accompanying the potato crisp range is their extensive ground and tree nut selection, as well as their popular maize snack, Messaris Bubbles.

A 2018 article by Katy Rose of Food24 titled, 10 of South Africa’s favourite cheese-flavoured chips, ranked from worst to best, ranked Bubbles at no.2, describing the product as follows:

“This small chip from Elsie’s River had big dreams of cheesy success, and triumphed over Big Chip to take the number 2 position! A dark horse contender going into the race, Bubbles proved to be a hit with the tasters, and the sample packet was the first to be finished. Comments include “Best. Good flavour”, “so many good memories from childhood – perfect!” and “perfect spongy texture”


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