Summertime and the snacking is easy: Frito-Lay’s second US Snack Index revealed

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Frito-lay north america

PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay has unpacked its next instalment of the US Snack Index, which reveals that Americans go into snacking overdrive when the sun really starts shining.
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Pool parties, backyard barbecues, casual cookouts, picnics – Americans are expected to host more than 750 million gatherings al fresco during the season.

In fact, according to retail sales data, the week of July 4 – packed with fireworks, fun and festivities to celebrate Independence Day – represents the biggest snacking week of the entire year for Frito-Lay.

According to Frito-Lay though, Memorial Day (May 27) is seen as the unofficially start of summer and historically starts a spike.

“Delighting consumers with a wide variety of snack options has always been our first priority, and it’s helped us earn our spot in 94% of America’s pantries,”​ said Mike Del Pozzo, senior vice president of sales, chief customer officer, Frito-Lay North America.

“As snacking heats up in the summer months, so do our efforts to make sure that we are delivering the perfect side to any summer occasion.”

The company has picked the summer gathering as the backdrop of its new advertising campaign, which features a new seasonal mantra, "The Perfect Side of Summer," and spotlights the many ways to enjoy the long, languid days with crowd-pleasers like Doritos, Lay’s and Tostitos.

Family time

Nearly nine out of 10 Americans see snacking as important to summer occasions or cannot imagine summer without their favorite snacks.

Millennials, women or parents – 90% of whom view snacks as an essential ingredient for a successful get-together – will host most of the gatherings.

However, providing snacks is not just considered the responsibility of the host; 77% of the attendees will arrive armed with snacks.

Chips reign supreme and 51% will bring a bag or two of their favorite snack to the backyard barbecue.

Almost 70% of them will stick with the classic when it comes to flavors, adding an extra dose of summer nostalgia.

On the road

Earlier this year, an AAA Travel survey revealed that nearly 100 million Americans are planning a family holiday in 2019, with the majority making it a summer getaway to visit family, go camping or embark on a road trip.

The US Snack Index found 73% of its respondents stating that snacks making the packing list every time. That number jumps to nearly 80% when polling parents.

Convenience (92%) is the most important factor for travel snackers, with 65% picking up single-serve packaging options.

Fun facts

Since the year has 12 months, each season lasts about three months. However, the dates when the seasons begin and end vary depending on whom you ask.

In the northern hemisphere, the official first day of the summer season is pegged as the day of the year when the Sun is farthest north, which falls on either June 20 or 21 – known as the Summer Solstice.

However, according to the meteorological definition, the season begin on the first day of the months that include the equinoxes and solstices, so summer runs from June 1 to August 31.

Seasons in the southern hemisphere are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere.

To make it even more complicated, the use of definition divides countries and regions around the world.

For example, Australia and New Zealand use the meteorological definition, so summer begins on December 1. Ireland uses an ancient Gaelic calendar, so summer (samhradh) runs over the months of (May (Bealtaine), June (Meitheamh) and July (Iúil).

Some cultures in South Asia have calendars that divide the year into six seasons.

Camping is purportedly on the rise, especially among millennial parents, according to a report sponsored by Kampgrounds of America (KOA). This means a preference for snacks that provide nutrition and nearly 40% of Americans said they would pack nuts, seeds and granola bars.

One in four guests will take snacks that incorporate fruit, vegetables or legumes when it comes to family reunions, however, chips remain the firm favorite. To ensure everyone is included, 18% said they would take along something sweet – either baked for frozen.

The summer selfie

There is no abating to the selfie craze – Google statistics estimated about 93 million selfies were taken per day in 2014, blooming to 24 billion a year later – so Frito-Lay asked consumers which snack was most likely to win the role as their pic partner at an outdoor do.

Surprisingly, the type of event dictated the snack.

For example, when it comes to backyard BBQs, cookouts and picnics, potato chips (43%) were the clear winner, followed by corn and tortilla chips (37%).

For rooftop gatherings, corn and tortilla chips (36%) led the pack, while both potato chips and tortilla chips were clear winners at the pool or beach, or on a boat.

Cheesy snacks are more likely to make the shot while enjoying summer away from home including the beach, the pool, a road trip or even sporting event.

The US Snack Index is a national survey that reveals how different generations, regions and cities snack when it comes to summer snacking preferences.

Frito-Lay North American collaborated with Morning Consult to field the online poll, which was conducted in May 2019 among a national sample of 2,200 adults.

Data was weighted to approximate a target sample based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment and region. The company notes results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

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