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Food & Beverage Product Focus: Salty Snacks

April 22, 2021
As snacking becomes more popular than ever, studies are finding that salty snacks are coming out on top. Read on to find out which salty snack has been the most popular during the pandemic.
Americans have been increasingly opting for fruits, nuts and ready-to-eat snacks throughout the day, according to The NPD Group. In its annual “Eating Patterns in America” study, the market research firm found that over the past five years, U.S. consumers added 25 between-meal snacking occasions per capita, from 505 in 2015 to 530 in 2020, and that consumption of snack foods at meals grew from 21% of eating occasions in 2010 to 26% in 2020.

Although snacking was already rising before the COVID-19 pandemic, the public-health crisis did ramp up snacking and snack food consumption. Having enough snack foods available during the pandemic is important to 37% of consumers, NPD found, adding that these consumers’ homes are well stocked with salty snacks and frozen sweets more than other items. In many cases, the market researcher pointed out, the more snack food packages in the home, the more often the item is eaten, which tends to be particularly true of salty snacks.

Popcorn has performed very well since the onset of the pandemic, with suppliers of microwave and un-popped raw popcorn reporting huge increases in sales, according to Packaged Facts. Consumers can’t watch movies at theaters, so they’re recreating the experience--including the popcorn--at home. Popcorn is also recognized as a comforting snack that has more of a health halo with its high fiber content compared to chips, crackers and similar salty snack options. In addition, newer varieties are lighter or feature trendy coconut oil rather than butter or palm oil.

First Chicken, Now Pork Chips

Wilde Brands has set out to reinvent the salty snack space with guilt-free options that contribute real nutrition to the diet. New Pork Chips are made from 100% premium pork meat. Far from a pork rind, this new offering has a thin, crispy texture, 10g of protein per serving and comes in four flavors: Black Pepper Bacon, Chili Lime Verde, Golden Mustard BBQ and Sweet Chipotle. Wilde Brands first broke the chip barrier when they ditched the potato and transformed 100% all-natural chicken breast into chips a few years ago.

Chocolatey Pretzels

The Flipz collection of chocolate-covered pretzel snacks from Pladis Global is growing with the rollout of Flipz Stuff’D and Flipz Bites. The former are bite-sized pretzel nuggets stuffed with creamy peanut butter and coated in sweet milk chocolate. They come in shareable 3.5-oz. bags for $2.79 and 6-oz. stand-up pouches for $3.49. Flipz Bites are gooey caramel and crunchy salted pretzel balls coated in sweet milk chocolate. Three balls come in a single-serve 1.52-oz pack and have a suggested retail price of $1.09.

Popcorn with Punch

Pucker up for new Dill Pickle Seasoned Popcorn from The Safe + Fair Food Company. Like all of the company’s products, the new popcorn is clean label, honestly priced, allergy friendly, non-GMO, gluten free, vegan and 100% whole grain. Dill pickle joins the sea salt variety, which launched in December 2020. The popcorns contain less than 50 calories per cup with shareable 7.5-oz. bags retailing for $5. The company also markets granola, pea protein chips, baking mixes and drizzled popcorn.

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