Total salty snack sales in the United States amounted to 27 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, making it the top selling snack category. Everyday the average American is faced with the decision of whether to buy healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables or indulgent snacks like potato chips or cookies. This indulgent snack subcategory also a dollar sales growth of about 3.4 percent in the United States in 2016 compared to the prior year.
The snack food industry is very competitive and the savory and salty snack segment in particular shows a high market concentration: PepsiCo, Inc., for example, has a sales value in the salty snacks category that is over 10 times higher than the next largest brand. Some of PepsiCo’s most popular snack brands include Lay’s, Doritos, and Tostitos.
A 2017 survey found that about 86 percent of American consumers regularly purchase salty snacks, followed by 64 percent regularly purchasing desserts. The majority of consumers either eat snacks to satisfy hunger between meals, or because they want to treat themselves. The most common snacking behavior among U.S. consumers is to eat three meals per day with a few snacks in between meals. In fact, only about 4 percent of U.S. consumers never eat snacks at all.