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American consumers eat four or more snacks a day and consume more than 6.5 billion pounds of snack food annually, according to a recent study by Research and Markets.
Salty snacks account for slightly over half of total snack sales and are consequently a large part of the American diet. Key growth categories include those that offer the most product variations adhering to convenience, flavor and health trends, the research firm reported. In terms of health, interests in salty snack products that are organic or all natural, low-calorie, low-fat, low-carbohydrate, low-sodium or offer health-promoting benefits, such as soy or the elimination of trans fat, are in greater demand by consumers.
Although consumers are interested in healthier snack products, they are not willing to sacrifice flavor, Research and Markets noted in its study. Intense and full-flavor snacks remain an important trend in the salty snack market.
Finally, convenience continues to be a major factor, influencing not only the packaging and shapes of salty snacks, but also the convenience of purchase of such products.