Over a quarter of consumers (27%) report increased consumption of salty snacks compared to last year, led by millennials (47%), parents (46%), and those who are employed and work from home at least some of the time (42%).
American consumers say they have increased consumption in the last year across all salty snack segments, with top growth seen across the most popular cheese-flavoured snacks (+6%), microwavable popcorn (+7%), and corn snacks (+8%) sectors.
There has also been growth in other less mainstream snacks segment areas, including chips/puffs made from vegetables, beans, or ancient grains (+7%).
Interestingly, those who report their financial situations as struggling/in trouble are most likely (34%) to have decreased year-over-year salty snack consumption.
Among those who haven't increased consumption, 37% would be motivated to purchase more salty snacks if there were more budget-friendly options.
The research finds that 43% of consumers today consider the price of salty snacks to be the most important attribute, compared to 37% in 2022.
When it comes to other attributes consumers look for, flavour (40%) and brand familiarity (40%) remain important to consumers.
'Positive Associations With Snacks'
"Salty snacks are winning in their ability to satisfy cravings and meet emotional needs, expanding their role beyond a quick hunger-satisfying solution," said Kelsey Olsen, consumer insights analyst food & drink at Mintel. "Salty snacks must be versatile in their ability to meet different occasions, but at base, they must simply bring consumers joy.
"Brands must continue to help consumers make positive associations with snacks to further encourage permissibility on different occasions as well as facilitate an experience that meets more emotional needs like a snack positioned for self-care."