By the Numbers: Salty-Snacks Forecast

Millennials are more likely to buy salty snacks this year than they were in 2014

Demographic groups are leaving their imprint on the fortunes of various product categories. In the salty-snack segment, millennials are breathing added life into the category.

Millennials have been more likely to buy salty snacks this year than they were in 2014 and are also more likely to buy them in bulk, according to Chicago-based Mintel.

“As such, these groups’ interest in salty snacks will be important to future category growth,” according to a recent report from the firm.

C-store sales of salty snacks rose 7.6% in the final quarter of 2014. Doritos Nacho Cheese tortilla chips set the dollar-sales pace with $43.2 million, according to Chicago-based IRI. The next highest in sales were Lay’s Classic Potato Chips ($32.2 million), Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream potato chips ($28.5 million) and Doritos Cool Ranch tortilla chips ($23.7 million).

In general, salty snacks fall within savory snacks as part of the three top segments, which also include better-for-you and sweet snacks—the latter of which saw declines.

Consumption of savory snacks has increased by 4% since 2006, according to the NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y.

Many of the salty-snacks segments saw strong c-store sales growth in 2014, including meat snacks, potato chips, tortilla chips and nuts, according to IRI. Ready-to-eat popcorn, a relatively small segment in the category, posted another year of double-digit unit gains (10%) on the strength of $197.5 million in c-store sales.

The top three sellers across the c-store industry were potato chips, with nearly $1.5 billion; dried meat snacks, with almost $1.4 billion; and tortilla/tostada chips, with $848.8 million.

Sources: IRI, National Confectioners Association, Nielsen