Snacks Rise in Popularity as Consumers Are Hungry for More Time

Frito-Lay released its findings from the fifth annual U.S. Snack Index.

December 21, 2023

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In 2024, Americans will be feeling a time crunch and leaning more towards making meals out of snacks, according to the fifth annual U.S. Snack Index from Frito-Lay and Quaker. The companies highlighted three main findings and trends that are likely to surface in the coming year: a lack of time, pride in a person’s snacking abilities and snacking for satisfaction.

Time Crunch Dilemma

According to the survey, the average American only has 52 minutes per day to prepare and eat meals. One-third of consumers stated that they had even less time, only getting 30 minutes per day to prepare meals. When asked about the importance of snacks, many Americans reported being too busy to cook (44%) while others reported yearning for a specific snack (51%).

Additionally, 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.

Eighty percent of Americans feel like their day actually has fewer hours, a burden most felt by younger generations (85%) and the pressure is only expected to increase in the coming year. Many Americans are set to “say goodbye to hours spent marinating, chopping, roasting or baking” as the “no-prep dinner” grows in popularity alongside meals rooted in favorite snack products.

The Snack Savant

Many people take pride in their snacking ability, noted the survey, with the self-proclaimed “Snack Savant” expected to make waves in 2024. According to the survey, Millennials (83%) and Gen Z (82%) are the most likely to embrace the title, with most being from urban areas.

Furthermore, 80% agree that combining multiple food products to create the perfect bite is an art form. While many admitted to enjoying “eccentric snack combos,” the survey showed that they still felt pride in their snack meals and would “shout their unique combos from the rooftops.”

Satisfying Snacking

In addition to taste, many people are also focused on the purpose of snacking, looking to consume more balanced and nutritious snacks.

The survey showed that 55% of Americans said that protein is the most important nutritional attribute with 79% stating that it’s time for protein to take center stage in their snacks (especially for those on the go).

Other times, consumers look for snacks to increase their energy. At least once a week, 60% of consumers look to their favorite snack products to provide energy. Millennials (72%) and parents (72%) are the two groups most in need of a pick-me-up compared to Gen Z (62%), Gen X (61%) and Baby Boomers (46%).

Nearly three-quarters of consumers refuse to sacrifice taste as they look for protein-packed snacks, especially Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

Learn more about snacking and other important category management trends at the NACS State of the Industry Summit. It’s the industry’s only event which offers actionable insights on the latest financial, operational, categorical, regional market and consumer trends in convenience.