Retail, Trends

Europeans want flavor, while Americans choose convenience

Price continues to be an important factor when European salty snack consumers plan a purchase. More than two in five French, German, and Spanish salty snack consumers mention price as a factor when choosing chips, as do 37% of Italians who buy these products, according to research by Mintel. Concern about the price of salty snacks has diminished over the past five years, with the biggest drop seen in France, where there has been a 15% decline of snackers who consider price to be a factor when choosing snacks, between 2012 and 2016. The Mintel report shows that declines in Germany (-11 points), Italy and Spain (-12 points) are not as steep, but still suggest that snack fans are not as concerned about price as they were five years earlier. 

Salty snackers in France, Germany and Spain have demonstrated a growing interest in premium chips, Mintel shows: there has been a 13 point increase in the percentage of consumers looking for premium products in France and Spain. In 2016, more than two in five people in those markets seek out premium products, making this attribute as important as “favorite flavor.”

Flavor plays an important role in salty snack choice, a category which includes potato chips. “More than two in five European salty snack consumers look to their favorite flavor when choosing salty snacks, a percentage that has remained relatively steady since 2014. At the same time, about a quarter of them look for salty snacks with strong or bold flavors,” explains Marcia Mogelonsky, director of Insight, Mintel Food and Drink. “Most likely to seek out adventuresome flavors such as these are German consumers, whose interest in strong- and bold flavored snacks has grown by 5% over the three-year period to 2016. Italians are also more likely to move towards strong or bold flavors with a 7% increase,” adds Mogelonsky.The difference in consumer behavior between Europe and the US, relating to chips and potato product innovation, is obvious especially pertaining to price. A recent IRI study found that for Americans, convenience stores represent one of the most frequented retail formats when purchasing potato chips. Moreover, the US consumers are heavily influenced by variety and potato chips range expansion.


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