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Snack Expo|Three Snacking Trends to Watch in 2024

2024.05.13

Snack Expo in the new year, consumers will feel the crunch more than before, leaving little to no time to prepare, eat and enjoy meals, according to the fifth annual U.S. Snack Index from Frito-Lay and Quaker.

 

"While Frito-Lay and Quaker's latest Snack Index confirms that time is scarce, the data also reinforces the fierce passion that consumers have for their food preferences," said Denise Lefebvre, senior vice president of R&D for PepsiCo Foods. "As we look to 2024, we have a tremendous opportunity to continue meeting the evolving needs of our consumers. It has never been more important for us to infuse that inspiration with innovation, delivering on our promise of more smiles with every bite."

 

With 2024 around the corner, Frito-Lay and Quaker are unveiling the three food and snacking trends poised to shape the year ahead:

 

The Time Crunch Dilemma

 

Despite there being 24 hours in a day, 80% of Americans feel like their days actually have fewer hours. This burden is most acutely felt by younger generations (85%) with no sign of letting up, as 60% of consumers expect demands to increase in the new year.

 

In 2024, Americans will say goodbye to hours spent marinating, chopping, roasting or baking. A proliferation of the "no-prep dinner," defined as a simple meal that requires little effort to make, will continue to grow in popularity, alongside dinners rooted in Americans' favorite snack products, the survey revealed.

 

A Dash to Dine

 

According to the Index, the average American has only 52 total minutes per day to prepare, eat and enjoy their meals. One-third of consumers note having even less time, scraping together less than 30 minutes a day to prep and enjoy meals.

 

Snacks Move to Center Plate

 

More consumers are integrating their favorite snack products into meals, up 35% over previous years. Once a week, more than half of consumers use snacks as a key ingredient in no-prep dinners, while more than one-third seize this opportunity multiple times a week.

 

Top Truths

 

When asked why snacks are an important part of their no-prep repertoire, Americans report yearning for a specific snack (51%) and being too busy to cook (44%) as the top rationale.

 

The internet might have dubbed snack-focused meals as "#GirlDinner," but in 2024, the trend is for everyone. Men (92%) report being just as likely to use snack foods in meals as women (93%), with 36% pushing snack and meal boundaries more than in previous years. 

 

Introducing the Snack Savant

 

The rise of the self-proclaimed "Snack Savant" will undoubtedly make waves in 2024, PepsiCo and Quaker found. Savants embrace all things food, adventure and community.

 

Defining the Snack Savant

 

Millennials (83%) and Gen Z (82%) are most likely to embrace this title, with the majority of these Snack Savants also being city dwellers (77%). They are resourceful — 55% report their favorite snack combinations are inspired by what is already in the pantry — and lean on social media for additional ideas (32%).

 

Snacking is an Art

 

Eighty percent agree that combining multiple food products to create the perfect bite is an art form and 65% admit to having eccentric snack combos.

 

3. Snacking for Tasty Satisfaction

 

In 2024, snacking will be centered on the importance of purpose, protein and packing a punch.

 

Protein Power

 

When eyeing snacks at the grocery store, Americans cite protein as the most important nutritional attribute (55%). Compared to previous years, 79% of consumers admit it's more critical than ever for protein to take center stage — especially true for those most crunched on time (80%).

 

Energy Boost

 

At least once a week, 60% of consumers look to their favorite snack products to provide energy. Millennials (72%) are by far the generation most in need of a pick-me-up vs. Gen Z (62%), Gen X (61%) and baby boomers (46%). Additionally, 72% of parents say they leverage snacks for energy.

 

Taste Triumphs

 

Across generations, nearly three-quarters of consumers (74%) refuse to sacrifice taste when selecting their snacks. Baby boomers are the most unwilling to compromise on taste (84%), followed by Gen Xers (75%).

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