What Are the Most-Loved Snacks Across the U.S.?

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What Are the Most-Loved Snacks Across the U.S.?


NEW YORK — Although Americans love to snack, the reasons they snack and what they snack on depend on a variety of reasons, such as where they live, gender, generation and income.

But regardless of why consumers snack, knowing what they snack on is key to making the right product assortment available to consumers in store aisles, according to Nielsen.

Despite evolving eating preferences and tastes, American consumers still reach for sweet and salty snacking staples. Salty snacks, including chips, popcorn and meat snacks generated more than $27 billion in sales across Nielsen-measured U.S. retail stores for the year ended April 1, 2017. Sweets are close behind, with candy bringing in more than $20 billion, and cookies bringing in more than $7 billion.

In a recent Harris Poll EquiTrend study released by Nielsen, U.S. consumers evaluated 275 snacking brands and identified their favorite items to reach for when they have snack cravings. The majority of consumers chose items from the candy/chocolate category, but there were some notable differences by region.

Consumers in the East and West ranked cheese, particularly Sargento Sliced Cheese in the East and Tillamook and Sargento Ultra-Thin Cheese in the West, in their top 15 snack items. Consumers in the Midwest also ranked non-sweet categories as their favorites, including Ritz Crackers and Wonderful Pistachios.

One size does not fit all when it comes to snacking, Nielsen noted. As consumers have individual shopping preferences, retailers should stock their shelves accordingly, and keep in mind that while sweets dominate preferences across the country, snacking preferences will likely continue to evolve. Staying in tune with regional snacking trends helps to ensure that manufacturers and retailers are providing the right products to the right consumers.

The full list of most-loved snacks by region is available here.