The common consumer is extremely busy. Whether it be going to work, the gym, picking up the kids or meeting a friend, many consumers just don’t have the time to sit down for a full course meal. This is why the snacking trend is on the rise, and according to Packaged Facts, consumers are craving salty treats even though many of them look for healthy food options.
Packaged Facts’ new report titled “Salty Snacks: U.S. Market Trends and Opportunities” describes how consumers are increasingly becoming interested in salty snacks such as potato chips and popcorn. This growing interest in convenience foods can be attributed to the fact that consumer lifestyles have become busier. In fact, retail dollar sales of salty snacks reached a value of $24 billion in 2017 with a CAGR of four percent between 2012 and 2017.
“In recent years, more consumers have moved away from the traditional three meals per day and shifted into a lifestyle involving increased snacking, or multiple smaller meals, throughout the day,” said David Sprinkle, Packaged Facts research director.
Salty snacks are also available in convenience stores, gas stations, dollar stores and vending machines, which makes them easily accessible to the public. In addition, grocery stores play on impulse purchases by having salty snacks available near their checkout counters. Considering the expansive reach that the snacking industry has, its no surprise that snacks are the go-to food items for busy consumers.
In fact, the demand for salty and convenient snacks at the manufacturer level is expected to continue to grow by three percent annually between 2017-2022. However, this estimated growth is because of new snacking innovations in the food industry. As consumers continue to search for healthier food options, the snacking industry will not be overlooked. This is why food companies have been coming out with salty treats that are flavorful yet healthy in some way.
For example, Tyson Foods recently launched a line of protein crisps that incorporate international flavors. The company’s Yappah! product is catching a lot of attention for its sustainable production and the fact that it is made from upcycled ingredients. The food giant played all their cards right in the development of this salty snack because they incorporated healthy ingredients, sustainability and exotic cuisine in this product line, all of which are growing trends in the food industry.
Another innovator in the salty snacks category is Hershey’s recently-acquired SkinnyPop brand. Prior to the acquisition in December, Amplify Snack Brands, the maker of the low-calorie flavored popcorn snacks generated a net sales of $372 million in the 12 months that ended Sept. 30. This is likely the reason why Amplify caught the attention of confectionery giant Hershey. The SkinnyPop product itself is known to be flavorful yet low in calories with less than 50 calories per cup, which means that it satisfies the salty cravings of consumers without the guilt. In fact, Packaged Facts found that the ready-to-eat popcorn category demonstrated the fastest growth in the snacking category at 18.5 percent between 2015 and 2017, which resulted in $1.6 billion in retail sales during 2017.
According to market research firm Datassential, consumers tend to snack about four to five times a day. This regular snacking pattern is why the US snacking market is valued at $89 billion, according to market research firm, IRI. So, it’s no surprise that food companies want to invest in this category. However, snack manufacturers must keep current trends in mind when developing new products because consumer values play a key role in their purchasing decisions.