As temperatures rise and Americans eagerly anticipate the pleasures of summertime, Frito-Lay and Quaker have released the first-ever joint U.S. Summer Snack Index, shedding light on consumer preferences and habits to ensure unforgettable memories this season.

"Food is an important centerpiece for the joy that summertime brings," said Denise Lefebvre, senior vice president, PepsiCo Foods R&D. "At Frito-Lay and Quaker, we are deeply invested in understanding what our consumers want so they can have the right flavors, variety, snack styles, and even packaging options all season."

Frito-Lay and Quaker's Summer Snack Index marks more than four years since Frito-Lay first issued its inaugural trend report. As snacking continues to play a large role in the lives of Americans—49% of which note enjoying three or more snacks per day—the recurring report is an important yardstick for the evolution of food preferences and purchasing decisions through the lens of evolving consumer behavior.

With experts predicting a surge in summer travel comparable to pre-pandemic levels, Frito-Lay and Quaker unearthed key insights to keep the good times rolling:

  • Planning snacks before hitting the road can "greatly reduce the stress" of a long road trip, according to 85% of Americans. That's good news for those looking to embark on new snacking adventures, with nearly three out of four people declaring these trips as a chance to enjoy offerings they've never tried before.
  • Snacks are a priority pitstop. Road trippers under 40 years old are twice as likely to prioritize finding the snacks they want over clean bathrooms on their stops.
  • Are you there yet? Probably not, but snacks can help. Americans note that snacks provide an important morale boost during road trips (43%) and are key to staying sane in traffic (39%). While 44% of people report hiding snacks to keep them from other passengers, nearly one-quarter say they have used snacks to break an awkward car silence.
  • Tunes or Treat? 41% of people note they would rather have control over road trip snacks than the music. Millennials (46%) show the greatest preference for snack control, as do parents (49%) when compared to non-parents (36%).

The ultimate summer soiree

  • Sharing is caring—in fact, Americans note "something for everyone" (74%) and "easy to share" (63%) are the ideal attributes for food and snacks this summer. When compared to "easy-to-make" dishes, shareability still comes out on top (72% vs. 28%). Check out for hundreds of summertime recipes inspired by Frito-Lay and Quaker favorites.
  • Avoid barbecue blunders. Party guests note overcooking the food (70%), waiting too long to serve food (62%), and not having enough snacks or appetizers (51%) among the worst hosting mistakes.
  • Bringing uninvited guests to a party is considered this summer's worst party foul (63%), with baby boomers (70%) and Gen-Zers (55%) showing the biggest spread of opinion on the faux pas.

Outdoor escapes

  • Winning isn't everything, at least next to snacks. When it comes to outdoor sports, more than half of people (53%) say post-game snacks are more important than winning the game. Women (59%) are more likely to be excited for the post-game snacks than men (46%).
  • Parents note being in charge of their children's after-game snacks is more stressful than getting their kids to the game on time (42%). Fathers feel the most anxiety over the post-game ritual (46%), compared to mothers (38%).
  • Nearly 60% of people say that snacks can make or break beach days, citing dropped snacks in the sand (42%) and running out of snacks (34%) as critical beach bummers.
  • Convenience is key—especially in the great outdoors. The survey found that consumers are more likely to purchase snacks that are conveniently packaged (79%), with individually wrapped snacks also preferred (52%). When selecting snacks for their children, parents noted variety (70%) was their top choice, with flavor and convenience tied for the second-most important attributes (64%).

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