Salty Savory Snacks Trends in the US

Explore the latest salty savory snacks trends in the US, including purchase drivers and market insights

Several different factors affect trends around salty snacks in the US. These include surveys of consumer trends, trends in the development of new salty snacks, and the effect of trends in the global food and beverage market.

Many Types of Salty Snacks in the US

The salty snacks category includes numerous types of savory snacks, including snack nuts and seeds, potato-based snacks, corn-based snacks, snack mixes, wheat and other grain-based snacks, popcorn, bean-based snacks, vegetable-based snacks, cassava and other root-based snacks, rice-based snacks, and other snacks. Chips and other savory salty snacks are the largest subcategory of snacks and they are projected to continue to grow at up to 6% per year. Popcorn is the fastest growing salty snack subcategory but healthier snacks based on vegetables stand out for recent innovations. In the US, over half of new savory snack launches over the past five years are snack nuts and seeds, popcorn, and potato-based snacks.

US Consumers Are the World’s Top Snack Eaters

Total per capita consumption and dollar sales of snacks are higher in the US than in any other country and sales of savory snacks continue to grow. US consumers lead global consumers for per capita consumption of the salty snacks of popcorn and pretzels. They also rank second for consumption of other types of snacks and fourth for snack nuts and mixes.

Salty Savory snacks Trends in the US

US Consumers Buy Savory Snacks for Taste, Indulgence, and Convenience

Over half of US consumers say that they buy savory snacks each year and 60% report eating wheat-based and other grain-based snacks or snack nuts and seeds at least once a week. Consumer trends show that more US consumers increased savory snacks consumption than decreased savory snacks. Consumers say the top reasons for eating more snacks are changes in their lifestyle and their budget. Those who cut back on snacks also name budget changes, along with the perception that snacks are not healthy.

Consumers who eat savory snacks choose them for taste first, followed by indulgence and convenience. Preferences skew toward everyday snacks with flavor blends. Snack trends seem to be moving toward healthier snacks. Consumers say they are looking for snack foods with real or natural ingredients, no artificial flavors or colors, high fiber, high protein, low sugar, and/or low fat.

Healthier Snacks and Better-for-You Snacks Grow

Healthier snacks are becoming more popular in the US. Gluten-free and GMO-free claims are the most common on salty snacks. Also, more and more savory snacks are positioned as vegan or high protein. Salty snack trends include more snacks with plant-based claims and more snacks in limited editions flavors. Better-for-you positioning includes claims for vitamins and minerals.

Several savory snack flavor claims stand out in new product launches. One-third of launches call out spices and seeds, nuts, or vegetable flavors. Flavors that are growing in savory snack launches include salt, chili, cinnamon, salt and vinegar, spices and habanero chili.

Food and Beverage Market Trends Impact US Salty Snack Trends

Several of Innova’s food and beverage market Top 10 Trends for 2024 impact the salty snack market in the US. The number one trend, Taking the Spotlight, explains the presence of nutrient-rich and functional ingredients such as broccoli, navy beans, and macambo beans. In support of the number two trend, Nurturing Nature, savory snack manufacturers are donating a portion of their sales to ecological causes and sustainability efforts like ingredient upcycling and regenerative ocean farming. Because consumers are Prioritizing Prevention, another top trend, they are looking for healthier snacks with features such as reduced fat, reduced cholesterol, or salty snack ingredients that that offer benefits to reduce risk of heart disease and other diseases. The trend Plant-Based: Applied Offerings highlights enhancements to plant-based snacks, with benefits that include convenient portability, clean allergy-friendly products, or sprouted ingredients that are high in plant-based protein.

What’s Next in Salty Snacks?

Indulgent salty snacks are expected to grow – more snack nuts and seeds, popcorn and pretzels with indulgent, gourmet flavors and more snacks targeted to evening snacking. Unusual flavor blends and mixtures as limited editions or branded restaurant favorites could become more widespread.

Savory snack bases are likely to become more diversified and include healthier ingredients such as beans, peas and other legumes, sprouted seeds, wholegrains, and vegetables like broccoli, cassava, and other root-based vegetables. Other better-for-you features in salty snacks will include higher protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals; reduced fat, sugar, cholesterol, or sodium; and more vegan and plant-based options. Ethical environment claims that will continue to emerge include sustainable ingredient sourcing, upcycled ingredients, and regenerative farming.

 

This article is based on our insider report, “Unveiling the Latest Healthy Snack Trends in the US.” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo.
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