Description

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the US Salty Snacks market, including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a major boost to at-home snacking opportunities, with more time spent at home and an increasing trend towards home working. The stress of the previous year has also seen a demand for indulgent and familiar foods as a means of comfort. Overall, sales in 2020 grew by 9.9%.

With 94% of households consuming salty snacks, the market has almost universal household penetration and well-established brand recognition. However, there are further challenges from competing snack options as they look to expand into the at-home snacking sector.

Value remains a key factor in purchasing, especially in times of economic uncertainty. Continued innovation into ingredients, flavors and functionality could help to differentiate brands and attract new consumers. With 39% of consumers looking to reduce their sodium intake, lower sodium content and lower calorie options may be key to expanding into the Better For You market.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our US Food and Foodservice market research.

Covered in this report

Brands: Outstanding Foods, Beanfields, Hippie Snacks, Simply Nature, Pepsico (Cheetos, Smartfood, Rold Gold, Fritos, PopCorners, Sabritas, Frito-Lay, SunChips, Funyuns, Quaker, Doritos, Lay’s, Munchies, Baken-Ets), Conagra (Slim Jim, Duke’s, Orville Redenbachers, Act II, Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP, Crunch ‘n Munch), Campbell Soup Company (Pop Secret, Snyder’s of Hanover), Jack Link’s, The Hershey Company (SkinnyPop, Pirate’s Booty), Utz Brands (Utz, Bachman, Golden Flake), General Mills (Chex-Mix, Gardetto’s), Hain Celesial Group (Sensible Portions, Terra), Bridgford Foods (Sweet Baby Ray’s), Old Trapper Smoked Products, Carl Buddig and Company (Old Wisconsin), Columbus Craft Meats, Wild Willett Food, Country Archer, Think Jerky, Kellogg Company (Cheez-It), Pipcorn, LesserEvil, Dot’s Pretzels, Unique, 365 Whole Foods, Quinn, Real Food From The Ground Up, Simple Truth.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Beth Bloom, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Salty snacks enjoy near universal penetration, with almost all consumers enjoying at least some snacks in this diverse category. While this provides a strong foundation, concerns about sodium, calories, carbs and artificial ingredients can undercut usage and drive some to the growing array of snack competitors. Category players will need to continue to innovate in terms of quality and healthfulness, even while providing high-value propositions and compelling savory tastes that consumers trust and enjoy.

Beth Bloom
Associate Director US Food and Drink Reports

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Economic and other assumptions
          • COVID-19: US context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of salty snacks, at current prices, 2015-25
                • Impact of COVID-19 on salty snacks
                  • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on salty snacks, July 2020
                • Issues
                  • Concern with salt and calories shows persistence of health-related factors
                    • Figure 3: Reasons for eating salty snacks less often, January 2021
                  • Bulk of consumption increase was situational; brands must prove wider worth mic
                    • Figure 4: Reasons for eating salty snacks more often, January 2021
                  • Opportunities
                    • Engaging key consumer groups, particularly men, young adults, and parents
                      • Figure 5: Change in salty snack consumption – More often, by key demographics, January 2021
                    • Opportunities lie in flavor innovation and in BFY product lines
                      • Figure 6: Important salty snack attributes, January 2021
                  • The Market – Key Takeaways

                    • Salty snacks post gains in 2020
                      • Six major segments comprise diverse market
                        • Supermarkets and “other” channels make gains, convenience falls flat
                          • Demand is high for salty snacks, but competition stiff
                            • Interest in weight loss and wellness drive demand for BFY snacks
                            • Market Size and Forecast

                              • Salty snacks see moderate growth during the pandemic
                                • Figure 7: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of salty snacks, at current prices, 2015-25
                                • Figure 8: Total US sales and forecast of salty snacks, at current prices, 2015-25
                                • Figure 9: Total US sales and forecast of salty snacks, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
                              • Impact of COVID-19 on salty snacks
                              • Segment Performance

                                • Six major segments comprise diverse salty snack market
                                  • Figure 10: share of salty snack market, by segment, 2020
                                • Demand for protein boosted meat snacks
                                  • Cheese snack performance is a win for indulgence, but not a complete loss for health
                                    • At-home entertainment drives demand for popcorn
                                      • Pretzels benefit from nostalgic appeal, see sales climb during pandemic
                                        • The corn snacks segment needs a strong innovator
                                          • “Other” salty snacks continue to build share
                                            • Figure 11: Total US retail sales and forecast of salty snacks, by segment, at current prices, 2015-25
                                          • Convenience store sales of salty snacks sag in 2020
                                            • Figure 12: Total US retail sales of salty snacks, by channel, at current prices, 2015-20
                                        • Market Factors

                                          • Demand is high for snacks, but competition stiff in crowded category
                                            • Uncertain economy will drive importance of value
                                              • Figure 13: US unemployment, January 2019-December 2020
                                              • Figure 14: US Consumer Confidence, January 2019-January 2021
                                            • Interest in weight loss and wellness drives demand for BFY snacks
                                              • Interest in plant-based protein a positive driver for “other” salty snacks
                                                • Demographic trends will shape opportunities for salty snacks
                                                  • Figure 15: US population by generation, 2015-25
                                                  • Figure 16: Population by race and Hispanic origin, 2016-24
                                              • Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                                • PepsiCo maintains dominance and grows share during pandemic
                                                  • Popcorn and cheese snack brands big and small post big gains
                                                    • Pretzel rebound helped along by monumental growth of Dot’s
                                                      • “Other” salty snacks embrace BFY fare as well as popular pork rinds
                                                      • Market Share

                                                        • PepsiCo commands nearly half of MULO salty snacks market
                                                          • Figure 17: Multi-outlet sales of salty snacks, by leading companies, 52 weeks ending December 27, 2020
                                                          • Figure 18: MULO sales of salty snacks, by company, rolling 52-weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                      • Competitive Strategies

                                                        • Smaller meat snacks brands continue to steal share from leader
                                                          • Figure 19: Multi-outlet sales of meat snacks, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                        • Meat snacks launches exhibit sophisticated variations in niche, high-end jerkies
                                                          • Figure 20: Meat snack launches, by leading flavors, 2018-20
                                                        • Cheese snacks benefited from familiarity and, to a lesser extent, health
                                                          • Figure 21: Multi-outlet sales of cheese snacks, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                          • Figure 22: Cheese snack launches, by leading flavors, 2018-20
                                                        • Popcorn sales soar with rise in at-home movie watching
                                                          • Figure 23: Multi-outlet sales of popcorn, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                          • Figure 24: popcorn launches, by leading flavors, 2018-20
                                                        • Pretzels see sales rebound with familiar brands and innovative formats
                                                            • Figure 25: Multi-outlet sales of pretzels, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                            • Figure 26: pretzel launches, by leading flavors, 2018-20
                                                          • Smaller PepsiCo brands see strongest corn snack growth
                                                            • Figure 27: Multi-outlet sales of corn snacks, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                          • PepsiCo builds share as “other” salty snack leader
                                                            • Figure 28: Multi-outlet sales of other salty snacks, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                            • Figure 29: “Other” snack launches, by leading flavors, 2018-20*
                                                        • Market Opportunities

                                                          • Classic flavors and traditional favorites are foundational to appeal
                                                            • International flavors key to Gen Z reach and introduces adult sophistication
                                                              • Appeal to parents and kids with playful packaging and holiday specials
                                                                • Cater to convenience, experience online
                                                                • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                                  • 94% of US households consume salty snacks
                                                                    • A third of salty snacks eaters increased consumption frequency in 2020
                                                                      • Afternoon and evenings are key times for snacking
                                                                        • Supermarkets are leading channel, but online purchase grows
                                                                          • Price is prime, followed by brand and flavor
                                                                          • Salty Snack Purchase

                                                                            • Salty snacks present in virtually all US households
                                                                              • Figure 30: Salty snack purchase, January 2021
                                                                            • Net penetration up slightly from January 2020
                                                                              • Figure 31: Salty snack purchase, January 2020 vs January 2021
                                                                            • Men overindex in meat snack purchase, women select healthy-focused, alternative options
                                                                              • Figure 32: Salty snack purchase, by gender, January 2021
                                                                            • Consumption tapers off among those aged 55+ for many salty snacks
                                                                              • Figure 33: Salty snack purchase, by age, January 2021
                                                                            • Higher earning households consume a wider range of salty snacks
                                                                              • Figure 34: Salty snack purchase, by household income, January 2021
                                                                            • Parents comprise a key demographic, eager for a range of snacks
                                                                              • Figure 35: Salty snack purchase – by parental status, January 2021
                                                                          • Reasons for Salty Snack Consumption

                                                                            • Pleasure positioning should be emphasized
                                                                              • Figure 36: Reasons for salty snack consumption, January 2021
                                                                            • Cravings are a strong driver for women, men seek practical outcomes
                                                                              • Figure 37: Reasons for salty snack consumption, by gender, January 2021
                                                                            • Mood boosting and time savings are key messages to parents
                                                                              • Figure 38: Reasons for salty snack consumption, by parental status, January 2021
                                                                          • Change in Salty Snack Consumption

                                                                            • A third of salty snacks eaters increased consumption in the past year
                                                                              • Figure 39: Change in salty snack consumption, January 2021
                                                                            • Key groups increasing usage include men, young adults and parents
                                                                              • Figure 40: Change in salty snack consumption, by key demographics, January 2021
                                                                            • Spending more time at home and snacking more drive the increase
                                                                              • Figure 41: Reasons for eating more salty snacks, January 2021
                                                                            • Parents cite an especially wide range of reasons for more snacking
                                                                              • Figure 42: Reasons for eating salty snacks more often, by parental status, January 2021
                                                                            • Salt, calories and reduced snacking are top reasons for cutting back
                                                                              • Figure 43: Reasons for eating fewer salty snacks, January 2021
                                                                          • Salty Snack Consumption Occasions

                                                                            • Category excels for snacking, later in the day, at home, alone
                                                                              • Figure 44: Salty snack consumption occasions, January 2021
                                                                            • Younger consumers are targets for on-the-go and morning consumption
                                                                              • Figure 45: Salty snack consumption occasions, by age, January 2021
                                                                            • Parents consume more snacks on the go and with others
                                                                              • Figure 46: Salty snack consumption occasions, by parental status, January 2021
                                                                          • Salty Snack Purchase Location

                                                                            • Supermarkets lead, but online retailers see jump in usage
                                                                              • Figure 47: Salty snack purchase location, January 2020 and January 2021
                                                                            • Meat snacks and filled pretzels sought through wider range of retailers
                                                                              • Figure 48: Salty snack purchase location, by salty snack purchase, January 2021
                                                                            • Convenience supports on-the-go consumption for young shoppers
                                                                              • Figure 49: Salty snack purchase location, by age, January 2021
                                                                            • Preference for convenience, makes parents a target for online sales
                                                                              • Figure 50: Salty snack purchase location, by parental status, January 2021
                                                                          • Important Salty Snack Attributes

                                                                            • Price is prime, followed by brand and flavor
                                                                              • Figure 51: Important salty snack attributes, January 2021
                                                                            • Innovation appeals to filled pretzel buyers; health is key for “other” salty snack shoppers
                                                                              • Figure 52: Important salty snack attributes, by salty snack purchase, January 2021
                                                                            • Don’t tell women it’s healthy, show them
                                                                              • Figure 53: Important salty snack attributes, by gender, January 2021
                                                                            • Value is key to younger shoppers; older shoppers scrutinize ingredients
                                                                              • Figure 54: Important salty snack attributes, by age January 2021
                                                                            • Flavor, health and convenience all play a role in parents’ decisions
                                                                              • Figure 55: Important salty snack attributes, by parental status, January 2021
                                                                          • Salty Snack Associations

                                                                            • Planned purchase gains on impulsivity in the wake of COVID-19
                                                                              • Figure 56: Attributes associated with salty snacks — planned or impulse purchase, by segment, January 2021
                                                                            • Meat snacks underperform other segments on some positive sentiments
                                                                              • Figure 57: Attributes associated with salty snacks – general, by segment, January 2021
                                                                            • “Other” salty snacks crack the nutrition code
                                                                              • Figure 58: Attributes associated with salty snacks – health, by segment, January 2021
                                                                            • Room to expand microwavable popcorn flavor variety
                                                                              • Figure 59: Attributes associated with salty snacks, by popcorn, January 2021
                                                                            • Filled pretzels sacrifice texture for indulgence
                                                                              • Figure 60: Attributes associated with salty snacks – various, by pretzels, January 2021
                                                                            • Cheese snacks perform well for taste, struggle with salt and carbs
                                                                              • Figure 61: Attributes associated with salty snacks, by cheese snacks, January 2021
                                                                            • Veggies snacks best positioned to marry health and indulgence
                                                                              • Figure 62: Attributes associated with salty snacks, by “other” salty snacks, January 2021
                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                            • Data sources
                                                                              • Sales data
                                                                                • Forecast
                                                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                                      • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                          • Figure 63: Total US retail sales and forecast of meat snacks, at current prices, 2015-25
                                                                                          • Figure 64: Total US retail sales and forecast of meat snacks, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
                                                                                          • Figure 65: Total US retail sales and forecast of popcorn, at current prices, 2015-25
                                                                                          • Figure 66: Total US retail sales and forecast of popcorn, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
                                                                                          • Figure 67: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese snacks, at current prices, 2015-25
                                                                                          • Figure 68: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese snacks, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
                                                                                          • Figure 69: Total US retail sales and forecast of pretzels, at current prices, 2015-25
                                                                                          • Figure 70: Total US retail sales and forecast of pretzels, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
                                                                                          • Figure 71: Total US retail sales and forecast of corn snacks, at current prices, 2015-25
                                                                                          • Figure 72: Total US retail sales and forecast of corn snacks, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
                                                                                          • Figure 73: Total US retail sales and forecast of other salty snacks, at current prices, 2015-25
                                                                                          • Figure 74: Total US retail sales and forecast of other salty snacks, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
                                                                                      • Appendix – Retail Channels

                                                                                          • Figure 75: US supermarket sales of salty snacks, at current prices, 2015-20
                                                                                          • Figure 76: US convenience store sales of salty snacks, at current prices, 2015-20
                                                                                          • Figure 77: US sales of salty snacks through other retail channels, at current prices, 2015-20

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