Frito-Lay’s U.S. Snack Index Predicts 2024 Trends Amidst Increasing Time Crunch


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Plano, TX — Frito-Lay North America’s fifth annual U.S. Snack Index confirms that a lack of time to prepare, eat and enjoy meals — especially among parents and younger generations — will blur the once-clear line between “snacks” and “meals” in 2024.

“While Frito-Lay and Quaker’s latest Snack Index confirms that time is scarce, the data also reinforces the fierce passion that consumers have for their food preferences,” says Denise Lefebvre, senior vice-president of R&D for PepsiCo Foods.  “As we look to 2024, we have a tremendous opportunity to continue meeting the evolving needs of our consumers. It has never been more important for us to infuse that inspiration with innovation, delivering on our promise of more smiles with every bite.”

Frito-Lay and Quaker unveiled three food and snacking trends poised to shape:

The Time Crunch Dilemma
While there might technically always be 24 hours in a day, 80 percent of Americans say it feels like their days actually have fewer hours. This is most acutely felt by younger generations (85 percent) with no sign of letting up, as 60 percent of consumers expect demands to increase in the new year.

In 2024, Americans will say goodbye to hours spent marinating, chopping, roasting or baking, the company says. A proliferation of the “no-prep dinner,” defined as a simple meal that requires little effort to make, will continue to grow in popularity, alongside dinners rooted in Americans’ favorite snack products.

  • A Dash to Dine: According to the Index, the average American has only 52 total minutes per day to prepare, eat and enjoy their meals. One-third of consumers note having even less time, scraping together less than 30 minutes a day to prep and enjoy meals.
  • Snacks Move to Center Plate: More consumers are integrating their favorite snack products into meals, up 35 percent over previous years. Once a week, over half of consumers proudly use snacks as a key ingredient in no-prep dinners, while more than one-third seize this opportunity multiple times a week.
  • Top Truths: When asked why snacks are an important part of their no-prep repertoire, Americans report yearning for a specific snack (51 percent) and being too busy to cook (44 percent) as the top rationale.
  • #GirlDinner Debunked: The internet might have dubbed snack-focused meals as #GirlDinner, but in 2024, the trend is for everyone. Men (92 percent) report being just as likely to use snack foods in meals as women (93 percent), with 36 percent pushing snack and meal boundaries more than in previous years.  

The Snack Savant
The rise of the self-proclaimed Snack Savant will make waves in 2024. They proudly embrace all things food, adventure and community:

  • Defining the Snack Savant: Millennials (83 percent) and Gen Z (82 percent) are most likely to embrace this title, with the majority of these Snack Savants also being city dwellers (77 percent). They are resourceful – 55 percent report their favorite snack combinations are inspired by what is already in the pantry – and lean on social media for additional ideas (32 percent).
  • Snacking as an Art, Not an Act: 80 percent agree that combining multiple food products to create the perfect bite is an art form. While 65 percent admit to having eccentric snack combos, they are not the slightest bit embarrassed and will proudly “shout their unique combos from the rooftops” anyway.

Snacking for Tasty Satisfaction
In 2024, snacking will be centered on the importance of purpose, protein and packing a punch:

  • Protein Power: When eyeing snacks at the grocery store, Americans cite protein as the most important nutritional attribute (55 percent). Compared to previous years, an overwhelming 79 percent of consumers admit it’s more critical than ever for protein to take center stage – especially true for those most crunched on time (80 percent).
  • Energy Boost: At least once a week, 60 percent of consumers look to their favorite snack products to provide energy. Millennials (72 percent) are by far the generation most in need of a pick-me-up, compared to Gen Z (62 percent), Gen X (61 percent) and Baby Boomers (46 percent). Parents have everyone beat, with 72 percent leveraging snacks for energy.
  • Taste Triumphs: Across generations, nearly three-quarters of consumers (74 percent) refuse to sacrifice taste when selecting their snacks. Baby Boomers are the most unwilling to compromise on taste (84 percent), followed by Gen Xers at 75 percent.