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Frito-Lay consumer snacking poll: Memorial Day kicks off an anticipated ‘breakout summer’

Memorial Day on May 31 in the US is expected to kick off an anticipated ‘breakout summer’ as consumers catch up on activities they missed out on last year, and however and wherever consumers are celebrating, snacks will be plentiful, Frito-Lay says in a press release.

Frito-Lay’s latest U.S. Snack Index1, a poll focused on consumers’ snacking habits, found that eight in 10 indicated they have already made plans for Memorial Day, including many activities outside the house like attending a barbecue, spending time at the park, visiting the beach, traveling or playing outdoor sports. The results are a drastic difference to 2020 data where 82 percent of consumers noted they planned to stay at home alone for the holiday. Additionally, 50 percent of vaccinated adults said they plan to spend time with people outside of their household for Memorial Day.

Regardless of consumers’ Memorial Day plans, the Snack Index found that snacks remain essential to summer. Eight in 10 cite summer snacks as a staple of the season (84 percent) or are essential to moments they enjoy (80 percent).

“Overall, the home continues to be central for snacking and gatherings; however, as the world reopens and vaccinations continue, consumers are venturing out again,” said Mike Del Pozzo, chief customer officer, Frito-Lay North America. “With salty snacks being the No. 1 food contributor to sales growth at retail, Frito-Lay is ready to meet consumer snacking demand wherever they snack.”

Additional market trends and U.S. Snack Index highlights show:

Both in-person leisure and everyday activities this summer are coming back – but some pandemic behaviors are here to stay.

  • Consumers are returning to in-person shopping and dining at an accelerated pace – from drug stores, to convenience, to big-box retailers and quick-service restaurants.
  • More people are getting snacks in-person at the grocery store (a 14-point increase from 2020). One-third (35 percent) are picking up snacks at convenience stores – an area that has seen a large uptick as consumers get out more.
  • But, eCommerce is here to stay as consumers are now used to purchases at the push of a button. Frito-Lay anticipates eCommerce to double by 2025 and online snack sales are up approximately 73 percent year-over-year.

Consumers are trying both new snacks and bold flavors, but the classics remain a steady favorite.

  • When choosing a summer snack, the most important thing to consumers is convenience or having tried-and-true favorites (89 percent).
  • Chips are the top snack to stock up on for nearly all summer activities and two in three say they prefer to stick with the classic, traditional flavors this summer.
  • However, Americans are getting more adventurous compared to last year, with people preferring new, spicy and bold flavors (25 percent in 2020 vs. 32 percent in 2021).
  • This is exponentially higher among Millennials and Gen Z, with 45 percent saying they prefer new, spicy and bold flavors this summer.

Snacking habits and summer plans vary across the United States.

  • More than a quarter of people in Los Angeles (29 percent), Baltimore/D.C. (27 percent) and Houston (26 percent) say they expect to snack more this summer compared to a typical, pre-pandemic summer.
  • Summer activities differ across markets as the world begins to open up. Los Angeles shows strong interest in spending more time among other people at restaurants, sporting events and concerts, while Dallas shows interest in spending more time outdoors this summer (63 percent).

“The pandemic has caused companies to find creative ways to meet consumer snacking demand,” said Elizabeth Avery, president & CEO, SNAC International, the global trade association representing the snack food industry. “We have seen drastic shifts in consumer preferences and habits – from the flavors and types of snacks consumers choose to how snacks are making it to their doorstep. As we approach Memorial Day and beyond, we can expect some behaviors learned in the pandemic to become a mainstay.”

For more information, visit

1Survey Methodology
This poll was conducted on April 28, 2021 – April 30, 2021 among a national sample of 2,199 Adults. Interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of Adults based on age, educational attainment, gender, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Source: Frito-Lay
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