The Rise of the Salty-but-Healthy Snack Combination

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Consumers want it all when it comes to snacking, as they are seeking indulgent salty snacks that are also healthier, according to a new report by market researcher Packaged Facts.

Delivering against the salty-but-healthy snack combination is a major key in appealing to consumers during the next few years, the report noted. 

In recent years, marketers have been developing new products and modifying the ingredients of existing products to keep salty snacks relevant in the discussion of healthier-for-you snacks. This trend — coupled with consumers’ growing demand to eat on the go and the need to indulge — will combine to create a strong driver for salty snack sales between now and 2020, said David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts. 

While the snackification of other products like yogurt, cheese and proteins (i.e. meat snacks) are pulling consumers away from salty snacks, there remains sufficient interest from consumers in snacking staples such as potato chips and tortilla chips. Thus, sales of salty snacks will grow moderately well over the next five years despite the increased pressure from the aforementioned competing snacks, the report predicted.

According to Packaged Facts’ data, growth in salty snack sales has been steady recently, increasing 3.5 percent to reach $22 billion in 2015.

Other data findings include:

  • The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for salty snack sales in the U.S. between 2010 and 2015 was 3.7 percent. Packaged Facts forecasts the CAGR between 2015 and 2020 will be 4 percent.
  • Potato chips continue to be the top salty snack seller in the U.S., with the category taking in $7.5 billion of sales in 2015.
  • The next strongest category is tortilla and tostada chips, which garnered $5.2 billion in sales last year.

Salty Snacks in the U.S., 4th Edition also outlines ways in which marketers can develop products to appeal to salty snackers. One of these ways is broadening flavor profiles. By tapping into flavors traditionally found in other foods and other regions of the world, marketers can marry them to existing salty snack formats such as potato chips or pretzels.

Additionally, the traditional flavor pairing of sweet and salty continues to appeal to consumers. Packaged Facts also notes that snackers still look to satisfy nostalgic snack cravings. At the same time, new snack shapes is a growing way for marketers to appeal to consumers, with new technologies allowing for innovation in the way snacks are both shaped and cooked.

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