Back in the early 1930s, when Charles Elmer Doolin started The Frito Company and Herman Lay started H.W. Lay & Company, they were establishing the groundwork for a snack empire. The two companies merged in 1961, and four years later joined forces with The Pepsi-Cola Company to create PepsiCo, which operates Frito-Lay as a subsidiary.
Today’s snack and bakery market remains as fiercely competitive as ever. The definition of what constitutes a “snack” is tracking an evolutionary course, shifting in step with consumer trends and desires.
A handful of prevailing trends are at work across today’s snack and baking industry to help drive sales forward for foodservice operators, ranging from grain and flavor diversity to an increased focus on health and wellness.
Per IRI, Chicago, the salty snacks category was valued at $22.6 billion for the 52 weeks ending April 16, 2017—a number that encompasses potato chips, tortilla chips, extruded/puffed snacks including cheese puffs, ready-to-eat (RTE) popcorn, corn chips, pretzels and pork rinds—and sales were up 3.60 percent for the year (see the July “State of the Industry—Snacks” issue for detailed category data).
In a food culture that increasingly prizes clean label, fresh flavors and nutritional benefits, companies working in the freezer case need to integrate selective strategic innovations while holding true to the convenience and quality shoppers have come to expect in classic, category-leading frozen snacks and appetizers.