Global Salty Snack Trends and Innovation

See how Innova’s global salty snack trends and innovation research provides insight into the future of the category

April 12, 2024 –  Through our specialized research, we provide a comprehensive analysis of the global salty snack market, examining key trends, consumer preferences, and new developments. We offer insights into product innovations, flavor preferences, and emerging market opportunities across different regions. We also explore the impact of health and wellness consciousness on consumer behavior, and highlight key strategies adopted by leading companies to meet evolving consumer demands.

Consumer Insights 

Globally, about half of consumers have consumed savory snacks in the past year, with potato-based snacks, popcorn, and nuts and seeds being the most frequently consumed. Over half of consumers eat nut, vegetable, wheat, potato, and rice-based snacks weekly, with similar increases and decreases in consumption compared to the previous year.

India has the highest proportion of consumers reporting increased consumption of savory snacks at 44%, with Middle East and African countries such as Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt also having a high portion of consumers increasing consumption. Additionally, Asian and Middle Eastern countries tend to use snacks more regularly than other regions, with Saudi Arabian consumers being the number one global consumer of weekly rice and wheat-based snacks.

Taste is chosen by half of global consumers as the primary reason they choose savory snacks. The primary reasons for increasing consumption of savory snacks were taste preference changes, and increased variety or novelty, while the main reasons for decreasing consumption were health concerns, and budget changes. Consumer preferences for types of savory snacks skew towards single flavor snacks, in larger packs. Claims of real ingredients and product safety are also most influential for one quarter of global consumers.

Global Salty Snack Market Size and Trends 

Snack sales have grown by 5% over the last five years, and Innova’s projections indicate continual growth of 4% between 2023 and 2027. While snack sales are projected to grow across all regions, East Europe is projected to have the strongest growth.

Snack trends research also shows that North America and Australia have the highest per-capita snack consumption globally. In 2022, nearly 80% of snack sales were from North America, West Europe, and Asia.

Across multiple categories, the US and UK rank in the top 10 for per capita snack consumption, but India is projected to have the fastest growth for chips, extruded snacks, and popcorn.

Global Salty Snack Trends

Companies and Brands 

PepsiCo leads the global snacks market share, with notable private label sales in various regions. The company has focused on leveraging its iconic brands to inspire positive choices, reducing added sugars, sodium, and saturated fat. PepsiCo has also introduced nutritious snacking platforms and prioritized diverse ingredients, including legumes, whole grains, plant-based proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. The company additionally claims progress has been made towards environmental and social impact goals, with a focus on sustainable sourcing and reducing water usage. In Europe, PepsiCo announced plans to eliminate virgin fossil-based plastic crisp and chip bags by 2030, transitioning to recycled plastic.

Kellogg’s, Intersnack, and Calbee also influence snack trends in multiple regions. Kellogg’s, through its global business, offers a portfolio of brands including Pringles, Cheez-It, Kashi, and Krave. The company has focused on innovation tiers, including simple enjoyment, health and wellness, and plant-based options.

Intersnack and Calbee operate in various regions, offering a range of international chip, nut, and specialty brands. Intersnack focuses on taste, reducing environmental impact, and social responsibility in its supply chains. Recent product launches include Kelly’s Chips Party Ketchup in Austria and Chio Red Paprika in Slovenia. Calbee, based in Tokyo, manufactures brands such as Seabrook, GreenDay, and Haitai. The company offers seafood, cheese, and soy sauce flavored snacks.

What’s Shaping the Category? 

Snack trend research shows new entries grew at a 4% rate throughout the past five years. Launch counts of snack nuts and seeds grew fastest at 7% CAGR, while wheat-based snacks trailed close behind at 6%. Conversely, vegetable and bean-based snacks and snack mixes were flat in growth. Africa and East Europe are driving new product introduction, growing at 19% and 14% CAGR over the same time period.

West Europe is over twice as likely to include vegan claims on new snacks, while gluten-free claims are more common in North and Latin America. In Australasia, no additives or gluten-free claims are most common. Claims of plant-based, palm oil or lactose free, and limited edition are emergent globally.

Vegetable flavors are highly common in snacks, seen nearly 40% of the time. Regarding ingredients, wheat and corn are the fastest growing flour ingredients in snacks, while garlic and paprika oleoresin extract are the fastest-growing botanical ingredients.

Trends Impact 

Health and wellbeing remains a top spending priority for consumers. Worldwide consumers who are seeking a healthier lifestyle may be reducing consumption of snacks they view as “empty calories.” New snack entries are targeting this type of consumer with nutrient-rich claims such as high fiber or protein and boosted nutrients such as high magnesium or iron. Additionally, vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based claims are becoming more common in snacks, creating more opportunity for health-conscious consumers.

Minimizing food waste is a top action consumers are taking to support the environment or society. The health of the planet remains the number one global issue of concern among consumers. Within the snacks category, some packages are starting to note environmental packaging efforts such as recycled packaging material, 100% recyclable features or planet-friendly ingredient growing and sourcing efforts.

What’s Next in Global Salty Snack Trends? 

Future snack entries are likely to focus on flavor variety to meet global snacking adventure expectations. Vegetable flavors and mainstream seasonings such as garlic will remain dominant as a salty snack trend, but regional preferences like turmeric, international tastes like Thai, and unusual combinations delivered as limited editions are also likely. Manufacturers may also appeal to more adventurous consumers with extra spicy flavors.

Manufacturers are also likely to expand the variety of snacks made with alternative bases such as legume, vegetable and wholegrain.

Finally, more vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based claims are expected with growth of emergent added-health-benefit claims like high fiber, high protein or boosted nutrients, reduced negative claims such as low fat, salt, sugar or cholesterol and allergen-avoidance options like gluten-, grain- or lactose-free.


This article is based on our report, “Cross-Continental Salty Snack Trends & Innovation.”
If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo. You can do this by either booking a demo or using our Contact Form.

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