Snack Market in the US and Canada: Salty and Savory Treats

Explore the latest salty and savory snack trends, including product launches in the US and Canada

July 9, 2024 – In the US and Canada, salty and savory snacks are enticing treats for consumers due to their bold flavors and easy accessibility. Innova’s 360 research into the snack market allows for identification of key trends in new product launches, flavors, and claims, as well as what may develop in the future across North America.

Product Launch and Sales Trends

In the past year, North America has accounted for 9% of global savory and salty snack new product launches. However, North America is the second leading market for savory and salty snack sales, after Asia Pacific.

The US leads in North America, with an average of 80% of new product launches over the past five years. Meanwhile, Canada records the fastest growth rate at 18% CAGR in the past three years, driven by better-for-you options, culinary-inspired flavors, and seasonal editions.

US snack market trends highlight potato-based snacks as the top subcategory, followed by snack mixes, corn based snacks, wheat and other grain based snacks, and vegetable based snacks. This indicates a rising consumer interest in diverse snack options.

Potato Based Snacks Insights

Potato based snacks lead the savory and salty snacks category in North America, accounting for 28% of launches in the past three years. Options in different shape formats, dairy flavors like cheddar cheese and sour cream, condiment inspired flavors, and herbaceous versions are driving innovations in this subcategory.

PepsiCo is the top company for potato based snacks launches, supported by its brands, Lays and Ruffles. Different processing techniques, such as kettle-cooked and oven-baked, and a variety of flavors like barbecue, sour cream, and dill have pushed the company’s new product launches in the snack market.

Rice Based Snacks Trends

US snack market trends show that rice based snacks have the highest annual growth rate at 15% CAGR in launches over the past five years. This growth is fueled by crispy baked rice, oatmeal thins with various flavors, and mini rice cakes. Outstanding Foods is the market leader for rice-based snacks, driven by its dairy-free stuffed rice snacks in cheese flavors and snack formats like balls and puffs.

Snack Market in the US

Corn Based Snacks Trends

In the past five years, launch rates of corn based snacks have fluctuated, with a notable increase in launches in 2022. Traditional choices using authentic stone-ground processes and home-style corn tortilla offerings, along with seasonal editions featuring popular pack labels like Xbox Sea of Thieves and Madden NFL 24, are gaining popularity.

Frito Lay is the leading company for launches, driven by its brands Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos, and Sun Chips. Whole grain snacks, tortilla chips with indulgent flavors, and bite-sized options in various shapes, such as round and triangle, have improved the company’s new product launches. This trend highlights consumer preferences for both traditional and seasonal corn-based snacks, reflecting evolving consumer preferences.

Wheat and Other Grain Based Snacks Trends

In 2023, there was a slight increase in wheat and other grain-based snacks. Pretzels in various shapes, ancient grain puffs, baked super grains, and products with a blend of flavors are gaining prominence in this subcategory. Kroger and Snyder’s Lance are the two leading companies, representing 7% of launches each in wheat and other grain-based snacks in the past year. Baked pretzel thins and pretzel sticks have boosted these two companies’ product launch trends in the snack subcategory.

Claims and Positioning in Snack Trends

Gluten free is the top positioning in the US and Canada. GMO free, no additives or preservatives, vegan, and source of protein are also often seen in the savory and salty snacks category in North America.

Indulgent and premium, low, no, reduced fat, and no trans fat claims are gaining popularity in the United States. High sources of fiber, plant-based, limited edition claims are growing in Canada. These trends suggest that consumers are increasingly seeking healthier options in their savory and salty snack choices.

Snack Flavor Trends

Sea salt is the most popular flavor in the North American savory and salty snack market, followed by barbecue, cheddar cheese, chili, and milk chocolate.

US snack market trends highlight diverse flavor preferences across the region, with chili leading in both the US and Canada. In the US, flavors like pizza, dark chocolate, and honey are gaining popularity, while Canada displays rising interest in yogurt and caramel flavors. This suggests a shift towards more diverse and unique flavor profiles, potentially driven by consumers’ increasing interest in variety and experimentation.

What’s Next in Snack Market Trends in the US?

The US snack market is evolving rapidly, with rice-based snacks leading in launches over the past year. This presents potential opportunities for companies to innovate and expand their offerings in this subcategory. Free from ranges and reductionist claims are driving innovation in the savory and snack market, prompting companies to launch products featuring these claims.

Consumer preferences for unique flavors are driving growth and diversification in North America. Companies are likely to develop ethnic flavor profiles, fantasy flavors such as cosmic and space themes, and cross-category flavor innovations from desserts and cakes, reflecting a shift toward more adventurous taste experiences. Thus, future product innovations in snacks are likely to continue experiments with bold flavors and innovative concepts, meeting evolving consumer demands for variety and excitement.


This article is based on our report, “Overview of Savory and Salty Snacks in US & Canada ” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo.
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