Frito-Lay releases its new U.S. Snack Index, shows summer trends

29 May 2020

Frito-Lay’s annual snacking index reveals that 86% of Americans believe their summertime activities, and consequently their snacking habits, will be different this year due to COVID-19. Typical snacking occasions like group gatherings are not anticipated to take place as frequently with only 6% of respondents saying they plan to participate in these activities in upcoming months.

Still, even with reduced social gatherings at which to share snacks, the U.S. Snack Index poll shows that Americans are still planning to indulge – particularly in salty snacks. IRI data cited by Frito-Lay shows salty snacks have been the No. 1 food item that’s contributed to dollar growth at retailers since early March. This onslaught of salty snacks buying could be largely due to the fact that snacking has steadily replaced meals in the last several years and savory options are more appealing at varying points throughout the day.

Frito-Lay releases its new U.S. Snack Index, shows summer trends

This penchant for the savory is revealed in Frito-Lay’s most recent sales data. In recent weeks, the company reported that Lay’s sales are up 32%, Tostitos sales rose 42% and Cheetos Popcorn now comprise a staggering 65% of the ready-to-eat popcorn category. Nor is Frito-Lay the only snacking behemoth to see these trends. Mondelez told Food Dive that it has seen "unprecedented demand" for its Ritz and Triscuit crackers since the onset of the pandemic.

While these staples remain a favorite with customers – 85% of respondents say eating their favorite snack makes them feel normal – the Frito-Lay survey also showed that new offerings are also a hit with snackers. Already, 43% of shoppers say they are trying new snacks because they are bored with their normal snacks and 28% are venturing out of the tried and true because their favorites are unavailable, survey data revealed. However, once the pandemic subsides, those numbers may continue to climb. Ninety-two percent of those surveyed said they plan to eat the new snacks they tried in the “new normal.”

Still, those staple snacks seem to continue to have a hold on the hearts of snackers. When picking out snacks this summer, 83% are planning to stay true to their favorites with 73% admitting that if they found their preferred snack, they will stock up. Only 22% took budget into account when considering whether to purchase their favorites.

Due to difficulties in stocking on store shelves and the restrictions that consumers have on their movement, Frito-Lay recently launched a new direct-to-consumer website Snacks.com.

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