August 10, 2022
Frito-Lay’s Summer Snack Index surveyed 2,200 adults, plus an additional 200 adults aged 18-34, across the United States to determine what snack trends are in style. Not surprising, innovative flavors and ethical practices top the list.
Flavor is always in demand in the snack aisle. More than one-third (35%) of consumers reported innovative flavors are more likely to influence their snack purchases, more than recommendations (28%), brand recognition (21%), packaging (9%) or sustainability efforts (7%).
Exciting flavors and flavor combinations are appealing to snackers, who are seeking out flavors they love as well as new flavors in their snack buys. Of those surveyed, 40% said they’re most excited to find a snack with a flavor they love but have never had in a snack product before. Slightly more (44%) said trying new snack flavors led them to try more foods with those same flavors. More than half (58%) of younger consumers, aged 18-34, have eaten more foods featuring a flavor that they had initially tried in a snack.
Flavor combinations remain popular with consumers, with innovative flavor combinations dominant. More than half (59%) select innovative flavor combinations most often, including sweet and salty, spicy and sweet, and tangy and salty.
Aligning with trends across the broader food and beverage space, the snack aisle is seeing growing interest in sustainable, ethical brands. The vast majority of daily snackers (90%) reported they care about the companies whose snacks they're eating.
According to the survey, consumers care most about how snack brands are treating their employees (87%), how they’re impacting food access (78%) and about the company’s sustainable practices (77%). About two-thirds of people said they’re more likely to purchase products that invest in local communities.
Younger consumers, aged 18-34, are more likely than those over age 35 to opt for ethical and sustainable brands when making snack purchases, with more than half of those under 35 considering such factors.
Ingredient integrity is also a concern for most consumers, with 74% saying they consider whether ingredients are naturally sourced, more than other production-related factors like recycled packaging, compostable packaging or products made with recycled water.
Looking at how consumers are snacking, it’s no surprise that convenience is an important factor driving snackers. Certain groups—millennials (19%), Gen Zers (20%) and parents (20%)—are slightly more likely than average to snack on-the-go. Parents are also more likely than non-parents to replace meals with snacks at least several times per week—an option embraced by 52% of parents.
Most snackers (81%) enjoy snacking socially. In fact, 60% are most excited to snack with family and friends at outdoor events. Younger generations like to take their snacks alone, with almost half (45%) of millennials and Gen Zers reporting they prefer eating their snacks in solitude.
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