US demand for snack foods is forecast to total $93.2 billion in 2022. In recent years, some younger consumers (e.g., millennials) have moved away from the traditional three meals per day and shifted into a lifestyle involving increased snacking, or multiple smaller meals, throughout the day, generating greater demand for snack foods and a rise in the number and variety of new product offerings.
Snacks Taking Over
Contributing to the ubiquitous consumption of snack foods, these products are readily available in vending machines and grab-and-go retail outlets such as convenience stores and gas stations. In grocery stores, snacks are often featured in locations conducive to impulse purchases, such as checkout lanes. Seasonality also influences snack food purchases; sales typically spike around holidays (e.g., Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas) due to the common practice of gifting and consuming snacks as part of these celebrations. These factors, coupled with a steadily rising population, help sustain growth in the US market for snack foods.
Healthy Snacking on the Rise
Health concerns represent the most salient restraint on demand for snack foods and corresponding industry output. The nutritional content of many of these products has come under scrutiny amid rising incidence of obesity and diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. In addition, many consumers are wary of artificial ingredients (e.g., colors, flavors). However, loss of demand in one segment due to these concerns is often compensated by increased demand in other segments perceived to be healthier (e.g., nuts, seeds, and dried produce).
While product prices may rise along with costs for ingredients (e.g., sugar, cocoa, wheat, soybean oil, dairy products) and other inputs (e.g., fuel, labor), snacks are generally considered “affordable luxury items” – a perception among consumers that helps snack producers avoid severe cyclical fluctuations. Facing difficult economic circumstances, many consumers trade down to less expensive products, such as private-label brands, rather than eschewing this category of food altogether.
For more insights into the US snack food industry, see Snack Foods: United States, a report published by the Freedonia Focus Reports division of The Freedonia Group. This report forecasts US snack food demand and shipments in nominal US dollars at the manufacturer level to 2022. Total demand and shipments are segmented by product in terms of:
- chocolate confections
- corn chips and other salty snacks
- non-chocolate confections
- potato chips
- nuts and seeds
- dried produce
- chewing gum
For more insights into the US salty snack food industry, see Salty Snacks: United States, a report published by the Freedonia Focus Reports Division of The Freedonia Group. This report forecasts US salty snack food demand and shipments in US dollars at the manufacturer level to 2022. Total demand and shipments are segmented by product in terms of:
- potato chips
- corn chips
- other salty snacks such as pretzels, ready-to-eat popcorn, and pork rinds
Total sales at the retail level are also provided with forecasts to 2022.
While you’re there, check out some of our related reports, which include Alternative-Ingredient Snacks: United States, Beverages: United States, Healthy-Ingredient Snacks: United States, Grain-Based Foods: United States, Nutritional Bars & Shakes: United States, and Processed Food: United States.
About the Author
Chris Dyer is a Market Research Analyst for Freedonia Focus Reports. He holds a Master of Arts in Security Studies, and his experience as an analyst covers multiple industries.