'Crunch Factor' Reigned Supreme In Frito-Lay's End Of 2022 Snack Study

Frito-Lay knows what snackers like. The PepsiCo-owned snack giant accounts for a whopping 60% of potato chip sales in the U.S., per Statista, with a list of brands that includes Lay's, Ruffles, Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos, and Fritos. Those are merely the most notable of the many snack brands Frito-Lay controls, of course. According to Forbes, the Frito-Lay banner encompasses about 1,100 different snack products in total.

Sales figures are a reliable indicator of consumer taste, but Frito-Lay also regularly solicits the opinions of Americans on a variety of snack-related issues, publishing the polling results in what it calls its trend index. Before last year's Super Bowl, for example, Frito-Lay's trend index indicated about 80% of both Millennials and GenZ consumers preferred spicy snacks while they watched the big game. This summer, the company's trend index noted that 66% of Americans felt sustainability was an important consideration when buying not just snacks, but any food.

Now, as the end of 2022 is nearing, Frito-Lay has unveiled its most recent trend index, with all-new insights on American snack habits. The big news from the most recent polling? The crunchier the snack, the more people seem to like it.

The year of crunch

Frito-Lay's most recent trend index, compiled from a poll of over 2,000 Americans, shows unequivocally that crunch matters when it comes to snacks. In fact, Frito-Lay dubbed 2022 the "year of crunch," after 71% of respondents called crunch the single most important factor when seeking out new snacks. Other factors scored well too, however, with sweet flavors generating support for 66% of those polled, and salty flavors finding favor with 61%. Flavor and texture were frequently cited snack factors, but feelings also mattered. Nearly half the respondents (49%) noted that they like snacks that give them a feeling of nostalgia for a certain time in their lives.

Frito-Lay's trend index predicts crunchy snacks will continue to be popular in 2023, while the most recent polling also provided interesting insights into how Americans view theĀ holiday season. Although predictably 75% of poll respondents expressed a desire to enjoy classic seasonal foods, the quest for new holiday recipes showed a pronounced generational bias, as social media was noted as the preferred place to find new recipes by both Millenials (52%) and GenZ (62%).

The biggest generational differences revealed by Frito-Lay's new polling data related to when and where people like to enjoy their snacks. Most older consumers like Baby Boomers (62%) and GenXers (64%) prefer to enjoy snacks at home, while GenZ is notable both for its propensity to eat late (50% favor nighttime snacking) and to order in (double the frequency of any other age group).