Salty snack sales grow in US during downturn
December 1, 2009
Sales of potato chips have increased by 22% in the US market in the economic downturn, according to new research from Mintel*.
In addition, other salty snacks have experienced recession-fueled sales’ jumps.
The tortilla chip market, for instance, has increased 18% since 2007, while smaller segments, like popcorn and cheese snacks, saw similar gains - 17% and 20%, respectively.
However, now that economic recovery is starting to take hold Mintel expects sales increases to taper.
Over the next five years, potato chip sales are expected to rise just above 3% annually, while tortilla chip sales should increase just above 4%, it says.
“People bought more chips during the recession because they are good value,” said Chris Haack, senior analyst at Mintel. “As the economy gets stronger, we expect annual sales increases to slow, but we don’t expect markets to contract. New product innovations and the changed eating habits of many Americans will keep shoppers headed towards the snack aisle.”
Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) has already tracked over 350 new salty snack launches in the US this year, for example.
Crisps and potato chips are not the healthiest of products but Mintel reports 50% of children, teens and 18-24 year olds say they eat salty snacks five times a week or more.
Even adults say they eat salty snacks nearly five times per week on average, nearly once a day.
“Salty snacks are clearly embedded in Americans’ style of eating and they’re used by all ages as a way to curb off hunger between meals or after dinner,” said Haack. “But at the same time, there is growing interest in healthier snack options.”
Mintel’s survey shows two in three (65%) adults say that they are interested in healthier snacks, such as grain or baked varieties, while another 57% say they are interested in healthier alternatives to salty snacks, like pitta chips or crackers.
However, half of the respondents surveyed said lower fat/sodium snacks do not taste as good as the originals.
*Sales increases compare 2007 market data against Mintel's market estimate for full-year 2009
December 2009 Issue