Total annual snack sales for the year ending March 2014 in Latin America were $30bn, up 9% from the previous year.
This annual growth saw Latin America become the fastest-growing snack sector across the globe – ahead of Asia-Pacific that posted 4% growth and the Middle East and Africa with 5% growth.
Salty snacks: Fast growth, but still not the biggest
Within Latin America’s snack sector, savory snacks pulled in $7bn for the year, placing third behind the leading segment cookies/cakes ($9bn) and then confections ($8bn).
This trend followed suit across other global regions, Nielsen data showed.
In Europe, salty snacks generated $24bn in sales, behind confections that placed first and refrigerated snacks in second. Similarly, in the Middle East and Africa, salty snacks generated $2bn just behind confections.
The only market where salty snacks held number one spot was in North America – generating £26bn of the total $124bn snacks sector – significantly ahead of refrigerated ($22bn) and confections ($20bn).
“While conventional cookies, cakes and confections categories still hold the majority share of snack sales, more innovation in the healthy snacking and portable food space is necessary to adjust to this changing dynamic,” Nielsen said.
Latin America’s favorite snack?
Popcorn was the most popular salty snack product in Latin America with 49% of consumers claiming to have eaten it in the last 30 days, according to Nielsen’s Q1, 2014 snacking survey. Just behind were crackers and crisp breads with 45%.
However, Latin America’s top snack was yogurt, with 66% of consumers claiming to have eaten the product in the last 30 days.