Frito-Lay's seasonal index reveals snacks bring people of all generations together at the holidays

By Kristine Sherred

- Last updated on GMT

US consumers snack before dinner rather than have an appetizer, according to Frito-Lay's seasonal snack index. Pic: Getty Images/Bogdan Kurylo
US consumers snack before dinner rather than have an appetizer, according to Frito-Lay's seasonal snack index. Pic: Getty Images/Bogdan Kurylo

Related tags Snacks snacking snackification Seasonal Christmas Thanksgiving Frito-lay north america Frito-lay Pepsico Consumer attitudes

Frito-Lay has released another edition of its snack index, discovering that younger consumers prefer savory snacks while boomers retain their sweet tooth.

“Consumers told us they prefer holiday food over drinks, gift, decorations, music and sports,”​ said Mike Del Pozzo, senior VP of sales at Frito-Lay North America. The Morning Consult survey polled 2,200 adults for three days earlier this month on behalf of the snack giant.

Six in 10 consumers will partake in Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday, but many reported they have avoided hosting this year due to the truncated holiday season. (Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November, but this year, it lands just two days before December.)

Another 44% will celebrate a December holiday. Collectively, Americans will celebrate at 327m gatherings over the next six weeks, according to the survey.

The common thread at all of these celebrations most assuredly is snacks, with 40% of survey respondents saying they will ‘pitch in’ – whether that’s providing a bag of Cheetos or whipping up a quick and easy snack mix. About 40% will opt for some sort of mix, while a third prefer crackers or popcorn.

When Christmas trees were popularized in the 19th century, decorations were more likely to be DIY. Pic: Getty Images/Teresa Otto

About 60% of female respondents prefer sweet and savory mixes, compared to just under half of men. But when it comes to straight sweet treats, men enjoy them more often (40% compared to 35% of women).

Age also revealed some differences: Gen Zs grab salt snacks like popcorn and potato chips at nearly double the rate of baby boomers.

Snacks make great gifts

In conjunction with this survey, the PepsiCo subsidiary announced its first-ever holiday snack advertisement – a version of “My Favorite Things”​ (originally from ‘The Sound of Music’) sung by actress Anna Kendrick.

The commercial showcases a king’s table of Frito Lay’s iconic brands, including Cheetos, Doritos and Tostitos, with family and friends reveling in ugly sweater parties and sledding in the snow.

One activity that no one seems to love is stringing popcorn, with less than a third of respondents saying they would make such crafts this season.

When are people snacking at the holidays? A majority of the time (60%), they use snacks as appetizers, though about the same amount incorporate them into their meal – or indulge in a post-meal bite.

Snacks also make great gifts, say a third of consumers.

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