6 Innovations in the Salty Snack Category


Packaged snacks, particularly the salty snack segment, have enjoyed a nice run—reflected by both sales and unit performances during the second half of 2021.

For the 26 weeks ending Dec. 26, 2021, salty snacks sold across U.S. c-stores amassed $3.18 billion in sales, with dollar sales up 15.2% and units up 8.9%, according to Chicago-based IRI.

All top eight salty snack subsegments were in positive territory across dollars and units, starting with potato chips (14.8% sales increase), tortilla/tostada chips (18.5%), “other” salted snacks (11.1%), cheese snacks (12.5%), corn snacks (22.5%) and pretzels (23.5%).

Some of the pacesetters included Lay’s Layers, a multidimensional potato chip from Frito-Lay North America, and Doritos Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch Flavored Tortilla Chips, an all-new mashup that combines the classic Cool Ranch flavor with a spicy, bold crunch. “We took a legacy flavor that has been beloved for generations and injected it with a spicy new edge to bring consumers a tasting experience that’s on truly another level,” said Caio Correa, senior director of marketing for Frito-Lay North America.

Click through for several other new packaged snack arrivals that have pushed the envelope on flavor, taste and texture.

Chex Mix Traditional

A new version of Chex Mix from General Mills Inc. offers additional flavor in each bite. Three flavors include Traditional Chex Mix (an added boost of flavor and mix of textures, pieces and flavors); Chex Mix-Cheddar (corn Chex, wheat Chex, pretzels, mini breadsticks and crispy, cheddar crackers); and Chex Mix-Bold (a zesty array of corn Chex, wheat Chex, mini breadsticks, pretzels and rye chips).

Whisps Cheese Crumbs

Whisps Cheese Crumbs are keto-friendly, low in carbs and high in protein—delivering the same crunch as breadcrumbs using only 100% real cheese and spices, the company says. Available in Buffalo and Italian Herb, Whisps Cheese Crumbs are made with 14-month aged artisanal parmesan cheese, the only copper kettle parmesan cheese made in the United States.

On the Border Chips

On the Border Chips & Dips from Utz Brands Inc. rolled out Southwest Bean Dip, Jalapeno Ranch Dip and Lightly Salted Cafe Style Tortilla Chips. The tortilla chips are made with 50% less sodium than regular brand tortilla chips, the company says.

Cranberry Jalapeno Pork Rinds

Southern Recipe Small Batch relaunched two seasonal pork rind varieties. The low-carb, gluten-free, protein-packed and collagen-rich snack is debuting Cranberry Jalapeno, which has a subtly sweet flavor accompanied by a gentle spicy burn, and Apple Cinnamon, which has warm cinnamon and apple notes. Both varieties have an SRP of $3.99 per 3.625-ounce bag.

Lay's Layers

Bite-sized, flavorful and unlike anything Lay’s has unveiled before, Lay’s Layers comes in two flavors: Three Cheese, a tangy and cheesy blend of cheddar, parmesan and gouda; and Sour Cream & Onion, a savory blend of onion and sour cream. The two offerings have an SRP of $4.09 (4.75-ounce bag), $1.99 (1.75-ounce bag) and “2 for $1” (0.5-ounce bag).

Doritos Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch Flavored Tortilla Chips

Doritos Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch Flavored Tortilla Chips combines the classic Cool Ranch flavor with a spicy, bold crunch. From the original Cheetos Crunchy Flamin’ Hot to the latest Doritos’ innovation, the Flamin’ Hot lineup has expanded over the years with products such as Doritos Flamin’ Hot Nacho and Doritos Flamin’ Hot Limon.