The “crunch” factor came out on top as an important component of the perfect snack in the latest Frito-Lay U.S. Trend Index. The index polled consumers on their snacking preferences and found that more than 70% of snackers would reach for a food with a crunch when considering their perfect snack.
Beyond crunch, the Snack Index found other important snack factors included sweet (66%), salty (61%), and filling (53%). Almost half of those surveyed expressed that, when thinking of a perfect snack, that snack is also nostalgic and reminds them of a specific moment in time (49%).
“Consumers are at the heart of all we do, so considering every component of a snack—including the crunch factor—is very important to us,” said Denise Lefebvre, senior vice president of R&D for Frito-Lay and Quaker Foods North America. “We know the perfect snack is different for everyone, which is why we constantly listen to consumers and then engage our chefs and our Culinary Center to provide variety, deliver on flavor and explore new recipes consumers love.”
While Frito-Lay predicts that all adults will continue to look for crunchy snacks in 2023, generational differences and end-of-year snacking behaviors also contribute to trends to watch.
A generational snacking gap
Snacking habits vary by generation and snacking is not one size fits all. The latest Snack Index showed that nearly 50% of Gen Z believes snacking is most satisfying after dark. They are also twice as likely as other generations to order delivery when a snack craving hits. On the other hand, 50% of millennials satisfy their late-night snack cravings by visiting grocery or convenience stores. GenXers (64%) and baby boomers (62%) are most likely to prepare a comfort food recipe at home.
The joy of holiday snacking
Heading into the holiday, snacking is associated with good feelings. While 65% of adults crave snacks the most when they want to treat themselves, 61% are unlikely to crave snacks when they are feeling down during the holidays according to the Snack Index. Snacking is also a sensory experience, with 55% of those surveyed indicating they crave snacks most when they smell them and 52% crave snacks when they see them.
For 45% of respondents looking for a flavor that is available during a limited time and 49% looking forward to variety and party packs this holiday, specialty offerings will be a key factor. Americans are also looking to share their treats—55% most look forward to sharing snacks with friends and family this season. According to the Snack Index, 62% of GenZers and 52% of millennials will be turning to social media for holiday recipes to try.
While Americans are more likely to try a recipe made with Lay’s Potato Chips (46%), they also responded that they’ll most likely try out a recipe with Rold Gold Pretzels (40%) than Cheetos Original (37%).
“As people of all ages experiment with recipes and enjoy snacks this holiday season, we’re excited to bring them new limited time products such as Lay’s Clusters, Cheetos Snowflakes, PopCorners Cinnamon Sugar, and more, as well as fun new recipes made by our very own consumers that include your favorite snacks,” said Lefebvre.
For more inspiration, a newly revamped website with never before seen Frito-Lay and Quaker recipes has just been released at MoreSmilesWithEveryBite.com. This new site propels engagement with Frito-Lay and Quaker consumers by empowering innovative ways to incorporate our products into their daily lives while also incentivizing them to submit their own recipes and snacking ideas.
This poll was conducted by Morning Consult between November 4-7 among a national sample of 2,212 adults. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, educational attainment, age, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
For more about Frito-Lay, see "Innovation yesterday and today at Frito-Lay,” the cover story for September 2017, on the SF&WB website.