Just as Americans are finalizing game day plans for Super Bowl Sunday, Frito-Lay North America today announced its inaugural U.S. Snack Index – a poll asking consumers what they plan to snack on during this year's big game.  

According to retail sales data, Super Bowl Sunday is one of the single-largest retail sales days for snacks at many supermarkets. So, Frito-Lay, the division of PepsiCo producing Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos and more, is listening so it can continue to delight consumers with many snacking options.  

"The Super Bowl is synonymous with enjoying snacks with friends and family," said Steven Williams, senior vice president of sales, chief commercial officer, Frito-Lay North America. "As a leader in snacking, Frito-Lay keeps its finger on the pulse of snacking, always looking at what consumers prefer. It's interesting to see how different regions and age groups snack – whether it's potato chips or tortilla chips, classic or spicy – everyone definitely approaches snacking in their own way."

Key insights from the U.S. Snack Index included:

  • Most viewers will have potato chips or tortilla chips and intend to have a snack. Nine out of 10 viewers plan to have at least one snack during the game. In addition, 80 percent of Americans will have potato chips or tortilla chips.
  • However, no two cities are exactly alike when it comes to Super Bowl snacking preferences. Chicago's top pick: popcorn. L.A. had the highest percentage of potato chip lovers, while Boston chose tortilla chips as their top pick. Cities like Dallas, Miami, New York City, Seattle and Washington, D.C., also chose potato chips. Houston and the home of this year's Super Bowl, Atlanta, sided with Boston in selecting tortilla chips.
  • Spicy and cheesy snacks are the MVPs with younger consumers, while others go for the classics. Nearly half of Gen Z and millennials selected cheesy snacks as a top pick. In addition, spicy snacks fared best with these age groups.
  • Salsa was the overall top dip choice. But when it came down to chip preference, French onion dip was the most popular dip for potato chips, while both salsa and guacamole came in high for tortilla chip dipping.
  • Consumers like to spread the word about their snacks. More than one-third of those polled planned to share their photos on social media.
  • Easy does it when it comes to recipes. More than half of viewers prefer to prepare simple recipes when they are attending a partly or hosting their own gathering.

"Super Bowl Sunday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year for snacks. It's different than other holidays we see throughout the year as consumers are most likely to be enjoying snacks specifically at home, which can mean their choices can vary from other occasions," Williams added. "At Frito-Lay, we are hyper-focused in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl to make sure consumers can get the variety of snacks they want for game day. What better time to launch our first U.S. Snack Index and get insights into their snack plans for this major snacking event?"

For more information, visit: FritoLay.com/SnackIndex. Frito-Lay is an Official Sponsor of Super Bowl LIII.

For full infographic, click here.

Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery was able to briefly chat with Steven Williams, senior vice president of sales, chief commercial officer, Frito-Lay North America about the news.

SFWB: What prompted Frito-Lay to conduct this survey?

SW: Super Bowl Sunday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year—a massive weekend. We thought it would be fun to talk to some of our consumers in real-time about how they are thinking of shopping on this holiday. We know it's big—we've seen the data—and we thought it would be a cool index to have, and that the Snack Index would be an outstanding way to do that. 


SFWB: Is this going to be a yearly survey from now on?

SW: Yes. We have several big snack events—the summer holidays, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day—are all big holidays for [snacking]. So it's just a way to keep in touch with consumers across the country and surface any quick trends we might see in the data.


SFWB: Will you be using the data for any in-store promotional or merchandising purposes?

SW: No. Due to our DSD (Direct Store Delivery) network, we see in real-time what's selling, to replenish stores, etc. We have years of data from big holidays that we actually make adjustments to as we move through these major holidays. This is more to be in touch with our customers and have something a little more nuanced than what we see in the aggregate data, from what we get from retail.