Plano, TX — The latest U.S. Trend Index from Frito-Lay, Inc. found that 90 percent of customers who snack daily care about the companies whose snacks they’re eating. Companies’ attention to sustainability practices, community impact around food access and treatment of employees are among the top values driving purchasing decisions.
According to the index, more than half of consumers aged 18 to 34 noted that they consider a brand’s ethics and sustainability practices when purchasing. Ingredient integrity and flavor exploration also have influence over food and snack choice for all demographics. Given the choice of one snack element, 42 percent of consumers stated they would choose flavor combinations such as sweet and spicy, or tangy and salty over familiar, regional flavors, texture and international flavors.
As consumers shop for snacks, 35 percent noted that innovative flavors are most likely to influence what they select, more than recommendations, brand recognition, packaging or sustainability efforts. They also aren’t afraid to try new things — 40 percent are most excited to find a snack with a flavor they love but have never had in a snack product before, according to the report.
“During the summer, people explore new activities, new places and enjoy new flavors of snacks as they attend more outdoor gatherings,” says Mike Del Pozzo, chief customer officer, Frito-Lay North America. “While flavor continues to drive consumers’ food-purchasing behaviors, we know how a company behaves matters and that’s why I’m proud of Frito-Lay’s commitment to sustainability and community impact.”
Additional market trends and U.S. Trend Index highlights show that about two-thirds of people are more likely to purchase products from companies that invest in local communities.
Adults are more interested in naturally sourced ingredients than production-related factors like recycled packaging, compostable packaging or products made with recycled water.
Gen Z and millennials are more likely to prefer to eat in solitude and are slightly more likely than average to snack on-the-go, according to the report. Parents are more likely than non-parents to replace meals with snacks several times per week or more. The index reports that 60 percent of consumers are most excited to snack at outdoor gatherings with family and friends now that pandemic restrictions have lifted.
Overall, Americans prioritize a salty/sweet snack combination over texture, international or local flavors. Almost half of all respondents said trying new snack flavors led them to try more foods with those same flavors, while more than half of younger consumers have eaten more foods featuring a flavor that they had initially experienced in a snack.
Given the choice, people are selecting innovative flavor combinations most often, including sweet and salty, spicy and sweet and tangy and salty, the company reports.
This poll was conducted between May 26 and May 27, 2022, among a national sample of 2,200 adults and an additional 200 adults ages 18 to 34.