This week Down Under

Keen-snacking Aussies still not tucking into healthy potato chips

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Credit: iStock
Credit: iStock

Related tags Soft drinks United states Snack foods

The number of Australians who snack on potato chips continues to grow, while those who do so are also most likely to wash them down with flavoured soft drinks, market research has found.

Over the last five years, potato chips’ status as the nation’s favourite snack food has remained unchallenged, says Roy Morgan Research, with 42% of the population now eating them in any given seven days. This figure is up slightly from 41% a year ago. 

The news that potato crisps are still Australia’s favourite snack, eaten by more than 8 million people in an average seven days, can be seen as somewhat concerning from a health perspective – especially when sugary soft drinks are also part of the dietary equation​,” said Roy Morgan’s Andrew Price.

However healthy options have not gained the traction that nutritionists would have hoped, Price added.


In fact, our findings show that people who snack on crisps, corn chips and the like are less likely than the average Aussie to agree with health statements such as ‘I always think of the number of calories in the food I’m eating’, ‘A low-fat diet is a way of life for me’ and ‘I restrict how much I eat of fattening foods’​.”

Moreover, 62% of potato-chip snackers also consume some kind of soft drink, a figure that is well above the national average of 48%. 

Corn chips and other salty snacks, such as Twisties, Cheezels and popcorn, also have a correlation with elevated soft-drink consumption. Sixty-two per cent of people who eat corn chips, and 70% of those who snack on other salty snacks, consume soft drinks on or around the same time. 

Chocolate bar snackers are even more likely, at 65%, than those who eat potato chips and corn chips to consume at least one soft drink in an average week. 

They are also markedly more likely than the average Australian to snack on potato chips, corn chips and other salty snacks. 

Not surprisingly, given this relaxed attitude to health issues, it’s young men and women under 25 who tend to be the most avid consumers of these salty snacks. Consumption only really drops off among the over-50s, an age when one’s health inevitably becomes more of a preoccupation​,” said Price.

It’s a complex situation. On one hand, snack food and soft drinks regularly attract negative media scrutiny for their less-than-nutritious qualities; and on the other, their popularity is impossible to deny​.”

However, health attitudes could change at the drop of a hat, and Price says that savoury snack manufacturers must remain alert to shifting attitudes that could affect how Australian consumers see and consume their favourite snacks.

More stories from Down Under...

Complementary health red tape review well received by industry

A final report by an independent review panel on how to streamline regulations in Australia’s complementary medicines sector has stressed the importance of cutting red tape.


The second paper by the Independent Review of Medicines and Medical Devices Regulation also identifies the need to improve access to information for consumers and health professionals.

This is important to the two out of three people in Australia who use complementary medicines, while maintaining their safety and quality in a “regulatory environment that enables growth and competitiveness in the sector​,” it says.

The report has received a positive response from the industry. Carl Gibson, chief executive officer of Complementary Medicines Australia, its representative body, called the review a “once in a generation opportunity to shape the regulatory framework for the future​”. 

It is necessary to find a balance between a regulatory environment that protects consumers without unduly restricting the ability for Australian businesses to compete in an increasingly globalised environment​,” he said. 

CMA supports the government’s stated focus of better aligning regulatory protections with risks and to ease the regulatory requirements where they do little to improve consumer protections and are a barrier to business and innovation​.”

In its first report, published earlier this year, the review panel offered 32 recommendations to improve Australia’s regulatory framework and reduce red tape for prescription medicines, medical devices and complementary medicines. 

It now makes a further 26 suggestions related to improving advertising regulations, expanding approval pathways and streamlining processes for complementary medicines.

A Government response to the reports is expected in due course.

F&B segment doing the ‘heavy lifting’ for New Zealand’s economy

The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council has welcomed the release of the government’s latest guide to investing in the country’s food and beverage industry, which details a number of high-value segments that continue to see significant growth. 


Chief executive Katherine Rich said the resource confirmed that investment by companies in product diversification and added-value products has resulted in excellent growth.

NZ Food companies know the value of innovation, diversification, and adding value to their food and beverage products. This will pay big dividends in rapidly growing export markets as the population of middle class consumers continues to increase​.”

The report, which is published each year by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, singled out 23 emerging high-value categories that now produce NZ$2bn (US$1.3bn) worth of exports a year. These have been growing at 12% each year over the past decade.

The report proves again that the food and beverage sector is doing a lot of the heavy lifting for the New Zealand economy. It now comprises 46% of New Zealand’s exports of goods and services—NZ$30.7bn [US$20.2bn] of the total of $66.2 billion​,” said Rich.

It’s not surprising that the sectors identified by the report as showing the greatest potential to grab these opportunities are ones where New Zealand could have a competitive advantage: infant formula, mussels, nutritionals, honey, pet food, biscuits, soft drinks, beef jerky, avocados, UHT milk, chocolate, and French fries​.”

She said the sector was always looking for investment to grow export opportunities, and noted the importance for companies to take advantage of the opportunities identified by the report.

To achieve the Government’s goal of increasing exports by 40% by 2025, each of these categories needs to continue to grow. This report will play a critical role in informing this plan​,” Rich said.

Coopers launches home-brew range in international styles

Coopers Brewery has launched a range of home-brew beer extracts under the Thomas Cooper label to tap into the fast-growing global trend for craft beer. The ingredients are already online and have begun to land on stockists’ shelves.


The range has been formulated to appeal to DIY brewers who want to broaden their range of beer styles, said Scott Harris, marketing manager.

At the same time, Coopers has revamped and refreshed the labelling for its Original and International home-brew extracts by adding multi-language information and nutritional panels.

Harris said that craft beer has become the world’s fastest growing beer segment and DIY brewers were increasingly looking to make their own styles. 

This particularly applies to enthusiasts who have progressed from making basic brews to more intricate beer styles​,” he said.

The range is designed to encourage experimentation by experienced DIY brewers who want to further develop the brews into their own unique craft beer styles​.” 

Related topics Business Snacks

Follow us


View more