Salty Snack Buyers Want Familiar Flavors With New Twists

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Salty Snack Buyers Want Familiar Flavors With New Twists


NEW YORK — Although flavor trends in the past five years have included profiles like roasted grapes, urban honey, chocolate-covered insects and beer-wine hybrids, today’s salty snack buyers are looking for familiar flavors with new twists, according to new research from Nielsen.

In its latest study, Nielsen grouped 25 new flavors from the chip aisle into global, non-traditional ingredients, and “sweet heat” pairings and then tested them through the company’s proprietary Quick Screen, which uses actual consumer opinion about needs, desire and product uniqueness to determine which ones have the most potential for further development.

Flavor rankings in the chip aisle

The study found that in terms of uniqueness, jerky chips made from meat infused with global flavors topped the charts. Both lamb chips with feta and goat meat chips with curry ranked significantly higher than all other flavors in uniqueness, but they didn’t score as well in terms of need and desire, suggesting that the average consumer may not be running to the store for these flavors, according to Nielsen.

Non-traditional ingredients are also appealing to more and more consumers, as cauliflower, avocado with black beans, and coconut chips scored in the top 10. These flavors and ingredients are trending in other categories, too, and put a more health conscious twist on the traditional potato chip, scoring well on both uniqueness and consumer need.

Ranking in the top five are traditional flavors incorporated into unlikely pairings, like chicken jerky chips with BBQ seasoning and the “sweet heat” idea of brown sugar and spicy BBQ.  

Profiles that didn’t score well in the study are global, Asian-inspired flavors, which tended to score below average. Edamame, inari and kimchi ranked at the bottom of the list, indicating either lack of familiarity with the flavors or disinterest in comparison to other options, Nielsen found.