Snack consumption: three emerging trends for 2024 in the USA

Americans report lack of time for cooking, enjoying meals, says the fifth annual US Snack Index by Frito-Lay North America and The Quaker Oats Co.
Snack consumption: three emerging trends for 2024 in the USA

Americans typically don’t have enough time to prepare and enjoy meals, according to the fifth annual US Snack Index by Frito-Lay North America and The Quaker Oats Co., both of which are subsidiaries of PepsiCo, Inc. Looking ahead, three trends could play out that shape a shift in how consumers snack, the survey said.

According to the Supermarket Perimeter magazine, the first trend is “The Time Crunch Dilemma.” About 80% of Americans surveyed felt as though their days have fewer hours, with 85% of younger generations feeling the same way. The index found that 60% of consumers expect these demands to increase in the new year. Moreover, the average American has only 52 total minutes per day to prepare, eat, and enjoy their meals, with one-third of consumers saying they have less than 30 minutes to prep and enjoy meals.

Similarly, 35% of consumers are integrating their favorite snacks into meals (up from previous years), the index noted. More than half of consumers are using snacks as a key ingredient in “no-prep dinners,” also known as simple meals that require little time to make, whereas more than one-third follow this routine multiple times per week.

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Even though the internet has dubbed snack-focused meals as #GirlDinner, the index found 92% of men are just as likely to use snack foods in meals compared to 92% of women, with 36% of respondents pushing snack and meal boundaries more than in previous years.

Frito-Lay and Quacker said they expect no-prep dinners and dinners rooted in Americans’ favorite snack meals will become more popular in 2024.


The second trend is the “Snack Savant.” The index found that 83% of Millennials and 82% of Gen Zers are most likely to embrace the Snack Savant title, with 77% of them also being city dwellers. The survey found what is already in the pantry inspires 55% of respondents’ favorite snack combinations, and 32% of respondents use social media for additional ideas. The index also found that 80% of respondents agree that combining multiple food products to create “the perfect bite” is an art form while 65% of respondents admit to having eccentric snack combos. Frito-Lay and Quaker predicted more Snack Savants will come about in 2024.


The third trend is “Snacking for Tasty Satisfaction.” About 55% of Americans cite protein as the most important nutritional attribute when looking for snacks at a grocery store. Seventy-nine percent of consumers also admitted “it’s more critical than ever for protein to take center stage” compared to previous years, and 80% of consumers who are most crunched on time feel the same way.

Energy boosts also factor into this trend. The index found that 60% of consumers want their favorite snack products to provide energy at least once per week. More specifically, 72% of parents are looking for an energy boost compared to 72% of Millennials, 62% of Gen Zers, 61% of Gen Xers and 46% of Baby Boomers. When it comes to taste, 74% of consumers refuse to sacrifice it, with 84% of Baby Boomers and 75% of Gen Xers the most unwilling to compromise.

All in all, Frito-Lay and Quaker predicted purpose, protein, and “packing a punch” will be the most important parts of snacking in 2024.

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