Americans spend almost $500 annually on snack foods

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 1,642 views 

A recent poll financed by Moonstruck Chocolate found 18% of consumers would be willing to lay down their electronic devices for one month in exchange for a full year’s supply of snack foods.

The report found the average weekly spend for snack foods was $9.22 for an annual total of $479.44. The average respondent will dole out more than $28,700 on snacks during their lifetime. The taste preferences determined in the survey include 37% who preferred sweet while 34% preferred salty. The common ground for more than 80% of snackers were potato chips, which the majority said was a staple snack in the pantry.

Megan Jeans, research and development manager for Moonstruck Chocolate Co., said most (83%) of the sweet snackers said they occasionally prefer salty, but their go-to is milk chocolate. Salty snackers also love milk chocolate, coming in behind potato chips at 63%.

While 46% of consumers eat salty snacks between meals in the afternoon and 37% in the evening, more consumers are also replacing traditional meals with quick bites. The number of consumers eating salty snacks at lunchtime (23%), dinner (17%) and even breakfast (8%) are also on the increase, according to market insights report from Innova. This substitution of meals has encouraged many consumers to choose snacks with enhanced nutritional value. The salty snacks industry is working to meet this need, with launches of snack nuts and seeds growing annually at 11% between 2014 and 2018, accord to Innova.

“Enjoyment is still a very strong driver behind snacks purchase,” said Lu Ann Williams, head of innovation at Innova Market Insights. “When asked why they buy salty snacks, 40% of Americans named taste and a further 22% said it was to treat or reward themselves, so innovators need to balance nutrition and taste to ensure that salty snacks remain competitive for all snacking occasions.”

She said snack mixes are trending with a compounded annual growth rate of 16% between 2014 and 2018. Product suppliers are adding dried fruits, nuts and seeds with sweeter, more indulgent ingredients such as chocolate or yogurt covered raisins and nuts. Nearly half of those surveyed said they like combining chocolate with other items such as caramel (40%) and nuts (39%).

The report also asked respondents about their favorite food pairings. Bacon and eggs topped the list at 58%. steak and potatoes, chips and dips, wine and cheese and pancakes and syrup were the most popular food pairings.

The results showed consumers also are willing to try unique snacking combinations. Those salty loyalists were the most committed to their preferences and 11% said they would try bacon with vinegar.