Sodium may be the next trans fat, but that's not stopping Americans from indulging in their salty snacks, or so says Mintel's latest research.
A new report from market research firm Mintel shows that after years of mediocre sales increases, the potato chip market grew 22% during the economic downturn*.
In addition, other salty snacks experienced recession-fueled sales jumps. The tortilla chip market increased by 18% since 2007, while smaller segments like popcorn and cheese snacks saw similar gains (17% and 20%, respectively). Now that economic recovery is starting to take hold, however, 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%.
Mintel's Global New Products Database (GNPD) has already tracked over 350 new salty snack launches in the US this year.
A daily dose of chips?
It's not the most healthy habit, but according to Mintel, 50% of kids, teens and 18-24s say they eat salty snacks five times a week or more. Even adults say they eat salty snacks 4.8 times per week on average, nearly once a day!
Mintel's survey shows that two in three (65%) adults say that they're interested in healthier snacks, such as grain or baked varieties, while another 57% say they're interested in healthier alternatives to salty snacks, like pita chips or crackers. Admittedly however, half of survey respondents confess they think lower fat/sodium snacks don't taste as good as the originals.
*Sales increases compare 2007 market data against Mintel's market estimate for full-year 2009