Salient Salty Snack Trends

Report says dedicated snackers seeking surprises

salty snacks (CSP Daily News / CSPnet / Convenience Store Petroleum)

DUBLIN -- Nearly everybody eats salty snacks. More than 90% of households in the United States report using a salty snack in the past 30 days, and very few households limit themselves to only one or two kinds of salty snacks. Two out of three American households routinely use at least three kinds of salty snacks, according to a Research & Markets report, "Salty Snacks in the U.S."

The report sheds new light on a rapidly evolving market that food marketers increasingly count on to lift their overall profitability. It shows how the packaged food industry's recent efforts to roll out a wider array of exciting and innovative healthy-ingredient versions of salty snacks can succeed by targeting a critically important subset of healthy snackers.

There are 50 million consumers who often snack between meals and agree that salted snacks are their favorite snack. Within the population of these self-professed frequent salty snackers, there is a cadre of 14.2 million healthy salty snackers, whose favorite snack is a salty snack and who also claim that they usually only snack on healthy foods.

These frequent salty snackers exercise often, seek out healthy-ingredient foods of all kinds and do not see a conflict between craving salty snacks and pursuing a healthy snacking diet.

The report highlights some of the most salient trends expected to generate challenges and opportunities for marketers of salty snacks. For example, potatoes and corn, once the rulers of the salty snack world, will continue to face growing competition from snacks made from an ever-growing panoply of vegetables and legumes.

The report demonstrates that salty snacks marketers will need to be agile and fast-moving to be up to the challenges presented by today's generation of salty snackers. For example, it is no longer enough for salty snacks marketers to roll out products with a single flavor, no matter how robust or exotic. Dedicated snackers are seeking out surprises in the form of unexpected combinations of flavors. Moreover, salty snacks marketers will need to be alert to new possibilities for creating innovative products by merging traditional platforms into new snack forms.

At the same time, established marketers face intensifying competition from smaller players bent on launching creative and healthy products to meet the needs of today's increasingly health-conscious snackers, said the report.