The salty snack category is adding some pizzazz to its arsenal, along with clean, functional ingredients for those seeking healthy snacks.
With products ranging from fun to functional, the category is experiencing a performance bounce. Dollar sales rose 6% to $5.87 billion for the 52-week period ending Dec. 29, 2019, according to data from Chicago-based IRI. Units, meanwhile, dropped 0.7%.
The fun aspects of the category are reflected in initiatives such as the Smile With Lay’s bag campaign, which will return this fall after the brand carries out a nationwide search for the smiles that will ultimately emboss its potato chip bags. Smile With Lay’s allows consumers to vote for authentic individual smiles that warrant recognition—and inclusion on a snack bag.
More fun comes via Cheetos Popcorn, which is being infused with so-called “cheetle,” the proprietary red- and orange-dusted hue that makes Cheetos iconic. “We’re always looking for ways to help [consumers] step up their snacking game,” said Brandi Ray, senior director of marketing for Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay North America Inc. “The only way to truly take popcorn to the next level is to add cheetle, the cheesy dust that will entice Cheetos fans to snack on this popcorn all year long.”
Functional ingredients also are making their way into salty snacks, adding a touch of healthy to the segment. One example is the debut of Chifles Plantain Shells, a healthier-for-you snack that’s 100% vegan and gluten-free, with a hint of salt. Chifles Plantain Shells “turn the savory notes of the iconic Miami snack into a versatile option,” the company says. With 30% less fat than traditional potato chips, the product “is the perfect synthesis of chip and function, and the perfect bridge between cultures,” said Chifles President Antonio Rivas Jr.
Click through for a sampling of seven new salty snacks that have come to retail over the past several months.