Salty Snack Trends in Asia Pacific

See how the current Asia Pacific salty snack trends influence the category

April 8, 2024 – Salty snacks are a consistently enticing treat for consumers globally. With several subcategories, such as chips, nuts, popcorn, and extruded snacks, the variety of choices is always growing and developing. Innova’s market research into the current trends of these snacks within the Asia Pacific region will allow for a focused look into how the category has adapted to recent consumer demands, as well as a glimpse into how the category may change in the future.

Consumer Insights 

Savory snacks had a net increase in consumption in the past year. Savory snacks within the Asia Pacific region are the 15th most purchased food product for consumers, and half of snack eaters in Asia Pacific consume most types of snacks at least weekly. Australia and New Zealand have the highest savory snacks penetration in both Asia Pacific and the world. Potato-based snacks, nuts, seeds, and popcorn are the most popular subcategories of savory snacks within the region, with a net increase in consumption year-over-year. Taste preference changes and variety are the top reasons for snacking, while perceived unhealthiness is the primary reason for decreased consumption.

Snacks are consumed throughout the day, with the highest consumption occurring in the afternoon and evening. Potato snacks are especially preferred in the afternoon and evening. However, for the morning and lunchtime, legume-based snacks are preferred. Potato or corn-based snacks and snack mixes are preferred for sharing with friends and family.

Snack trends research also shows consumer preferences skew towards savory snacks with intense flavors, and single flavor packages. When considering packaging claims, Asia Pacific consumers care most about product safety, with almost a third choosing it as their most important claim to watch out for. They also care about claims of real natural ingredients, and nothing artificial.

Salty Snack Market Trends 

Global snack trends research shows snack sales growing at 6% on average annually since 2018, while in Asia Pacific snack sales are projected to grow at 5% through 2027.

The largest subcategories in sales include extruded snacks, snack nuts and mixes and chips, with sales projected to grow across all types through 2027 at CAGRs of 4% to 7% annually. Popcorn volume growth is faster than other snacks subcategories, projected to grow at 9% CAGR through 2027.

Australia ranks second for per capita chips and crisps consumption and has the highest per capita consumption of snack nuts and mixes. India is projected to have the fastest growth through 2027 for chips, extruded snacks, and popcorn. Asia Pacific countries in general lead nuts and popcorn growth projections.

Salty Snack Trends

Companies and Brands 

PepsiCo is the market leader for the salty snacks industry in the Asia Pacific region. They have a notable presence in Asia, and have led new product introductions for Asia Pacific since 2018 at 4% of entries. The company has been implementing initiatives to reduce added sugars, sodium, and saturated fats, as well as expanding its use of renewable energy and sustainably sourced ingredients.

Other key players in the market include Calbee, which focuses on potato, flour, corn, and bean-based foods in the Pacific region; Oyatsu, known for its upcycled residual production of instant ramen noodles; Frente, a Japanese holding company that manufactures snacks through its Koike-Ya subsidiary, primarily producing chips in Japan, China, Thailand, and Vietnam; and Kellogg’s, which split its global snacking entity into Kellanova in 2023, including the Pringles brand.

What’s Shaping the Category? 

Snack trends research shows that since 2022, the Asia Pacific market has accounted for 40% of new snack product launches. However, while snack launches grew at a CAGR of 5% in Asia, they fell by 5% in Australia since 2018. Launch counts have grown fastest for popcorn, wheat, other, and corn-based snack subcategories, between 7% to 9% annually.

Vegetarian, high fiber and high protein claims show notable growth in Asia Pacific, while specifically in Australasia, claims of no additives and gluten-free are much more common. Nearly half of snacks entries in Australasia carry gluten-free claims, while only 8% note this feature in Asia.

Plant-based, palm oil-free, low calorie and low fat claims are emergent, with notable growth in Australasia. Between 2018 and 2023, Australasia saw a 10% increase in savory snacks with palm-oil free, and low or no calories or fat claims, and an 8% increase in savory snacks with plant-based claims.

Trends Impact 

Three of Innova’s Top Ten Trends of 2023 can be seen within the salty snack trends of the Asia Pacific region; Plant-Based: Unlocking a New Narrative, Revenge Spending, and Unpuzzle Health.

Plant-Based: Unlocking a New Narrative can be seen through the increase in vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based claims. Vegan or plant-based are more likely to be seen in Australasia, while vegetarian claims are more typical for Asia. Some manufacturers in the region describe their entries as 100% vegetarian, while others mention Vegetarian and Vegan Society credentials.

Revenge Spending can be seen through entries seeking indulgent consumers that include gourmet or premium claims, including in the popcorn segment, which has numerous high-end introductions across Asia-Pacific markets.

Unpuzzle Health can be seen through the growth of better-for-you snack introductions, helping counteract consumer perceptions that the category of savory snacks are unhealthy. High protein and high fiber claims are also gaining traction and may include information on the exact levels and sources of these ingredients to improve credibility.

What’s Next in Salty Snack Trends? 

New salty snack offerings may feature natural recipes without additives or preservatives, given concerns in the region about product safety.

As taste variety remains a prominent reason for consumers purchasing savory snacks, there will likely be more international or intense flavors, with some introduced as limited editions, particularly in Australasia. Additionally, expanded base ingredient variety is predicted, with more products made from legumes, wholegrain, rice, corn and seaweed.

Finally, more vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based claims are expected, with other entries focused on fiber and protein boosts or reduced negatives like lower fat and sugar.


This article is based on our report, “Crunchy Delights: Salty Snack Trends in Asia Pacific.”
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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