Loving summer with the US Snack Index
“Food is an important centerpiece for the joy that summer brings,”said Denise Lefebvre, Senior Vice President, PepsiCo Foods R&D.
“We are deeply invested in understanding what our consumers want so they can have the right flavors, variety, snack styles and even packaging options all season long.”
According to Circana – another recently formed JV between IRI and NPD – snacking is still a way of life among Americans, with 49% enjoying three or more a day.
In the past, the habit of snacking (the art of grazing throughout the day) was fueled by the younger generations, but this influence has now spread to all.
While resolutions are kept earlier in the day, temptation eventually wins out and regular snacking usually gives way to cravings in the afternoon (66%) and evening (59%).
Unsurprisingly, the cost of living crisis has had an impact on shopping behavior, with 72% of consumers being influenced by price and 25% choosing sale items over favorite brands.
That said, snacking remains a way of life among Americans.
According to Frito-Lay/Quaker, this behavior – including the anticipation of increased summer travel – provides an important criterion for changing food preferences and purchasing decisions.
“Americans snack more in the summer, whether indoors, outdoors or on the go. Whether it’s cheering up a road trip or rounding out an outdoor potluck, today’s data confirms the vital role snacks will play in many shared moments and activities. this season “,said Lefebvre.
85% of Americans plan their snacks before hitting the road, and three-quarters of them note that it offers a chance to enjoy things they’ve never tried before.
Road trippers under 40 are twice as likely to prioritize a pit stop for their favorite snacks over a clean bathroom.
Snacks significantly improve morale during long journeys (43%), are essential for staying sane in traffic (39%) and are used to dispel the uncomfortable silence of the car (44%).
41% – especially millennials and parents – would rather control the road trip snacks than the music.
The ultimate evening
Snacks are universally loved treats (74%) that are easy to share (63%). Frito-Lay and Quaker offer a series of wacky snack-inspired recipes — think Lay’s potato chip brownies, Doritos Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch crispy chicken sandwich, and banana oatmeal mug cake — so the host gets more smiles with every bite.
Avoid the worst barbecue blunders with overcooked food (70%), waiting too long (62%) and not having enough snacks or appetizers (51%).
Bringing uninvited guests is the worst party fault this summer among Baby Boomers (70%) and Gen-Zers (55%).
53% of Americans consider post-game snacking more important than winning the game, with women (59%) considering it an essential part of the sports day than men (46%) ).
42% believe that taking care of post-game snacks is more stressful than getting the kids to the game on time, with dads (46%) being more anxious than mums (38%).
Nearly 60% say snacks can make or break beach days, citing snacks dropped in the sand (42%) and burnout (34%) as critical beach disappointments.
For a road trip or outdoor occasion, consumers are more likely to buy snacks that are conveniently wrapped (79%) or individually wrapped (52%). While parents opt for variety (70%) over convenience (64%), flavor still reigns supreme.
This is backed up by data from Circana, which revealed that 48% of consumers choose multi/variety packs for more snacking options.
40% of parents lean toward these options so family members get the snack they want; 39% see them as more affordable options; 32% use them for portion control; and 29% think they help control food waste.
Summer snacking, give me a breath
You asked and PepsiCo’s mega brands have listened.
Frito-Lay Minis are conveniently packaged in an easy-to-carry box.
Quaker Rice Snacks will instantly elevate parents to “cool” with their sharing, variety, and original flavors like Zesty BBQ, Buffalo Ranch, Sea Salt, and Lime. For the sweet tooth, there’s Quaker Rice Thins Salted Caramel and Cocoa Crunch.
Jack Link’s mashup with Doritos for beef jerky and meat sticks that are tickled with Spicy Sweet Chilli or Flamin’ Hot is equally igniting for the taste buds.
Or customize a Frito-Lay Variety Pack – sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy: all in one box – to make sure there’s something for everyone.
To infinity and beyond
The supernova themes driving the snacking world today, according to Circana:
62%: Snacks as pure indulgence outpaces segments like wellness (think frozen fruit), permitted indulgences (granola bars) and candies (low to no sugar).
54%: Snacks are an important part of a healthy diet, with mental well-being, weight control, gut health, and immune support being top concerns.
66%: Snacks provide satiety and excitement in different forms.
83%: want adventure. While the familiars (chocolate, cheese, sour cream, and onion) drive the most sales, bold flavors still dominate (think tangy tamarind, three-cheese, cinnamon-cocoa peanut butter, and sweet Carolina reaper).
71%: snacking is not planned, it’s just to take away (both outside and inside the house).
50%: snacking replaces meals because they are on the go. In fact, 23% of young consumers enjoy a chocolate breakfast.
The US Summer Snack Index survey was conducted online in May 2023, with a sample of 2,000 US adults. Data has been weighted to ensure an accurate national representation of US consumers over the age of 18.