What Christmas and New Year 2021 celebrations will look like: Frito-Lay Holiday Snack Index

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Snacks will be at the centre of festive celebrations - no matter what style they take. Pic: GettyImages/yacobchuk
Snacks will be at the centre of festive celebrations - no matter what style they take. Pic: GettyImages/yacobchuk

Related tags: PepsiCo Frito-Lay, Holiday Snack Index, coronavirus, Supply chain, Christmas, New Year, festive

Thanks to the pandemic and global supply chain challenges, Americans are split on how to celebrate, with only 38% planning to party the way they did in 2020. Snacks, though, will take centre stage as always.

PepsiCo Frito-Lay’s latest Holiday Snack Index has revealed that this year’s holiday celebrations have taken on a very different slant for three out of five Americans as they find completely new ways to celebrate or return to pre-pandemic traditions. The extensive consumer study surveyed 2,200 American to find out what is on the books for the next three weeks.

While 29% of respondents said they mean to let go and party the way they did pre-pandemic, 38% still intend to keep their heads down and keep celebrations low key as they were last year. 33% of those interviewed are planning a whole new way to end off what was, again, a challenging year.

Snack consumption continues to evolve, with 50% of adults admitting to trying new snacks in the past year. And as the year approaches its close, be they returning to old Christmas traditions or beginning new ones in the midst of the pandemic, more than half of those surveyed said they are stocking up on essential nibbles to enjoy in the comfort of their homes.

“Our goal at Frito-Lay is to meet consumers’ snacking demand wherever and whenever they snack,”​ said Mike Del Pozzo, SVP sales and chief customer officer, PepsiCo Foods North America.

“We’ve made significant investments in our omnichannel and ecommerce platforms to continue to satisfy our consumers’ needs, and we’re looking forward to being part of their holiday celebrations.”

Fear of missing out

Snack-Index-Infographics (1)-min (2)

Global supply chain issues continue to shape the landscape.

Since the summer of 2021, widespread disruption to supply chains has hit the headlines across the world, leading to delayed deliveries, higher prices and gaps on supermarket shelves. This scenario is expected to continue over the festive season.

However, Frito-Lay’s Index found that one in five adults plan to still indulge in their favourite treat/s to see in the new year. In fact, the majority intend to snack more frequently, particularly as COVID-19 pandemic mandates continue to evolve.

The Snack Index found 40% of consumers expect to purchase snacks leading up to the holiday, up from 31% in 2020. This uptick in advance shopping comes as consumers place higher priority on securing their favourites, as 81% of adults have seen, heard, or read something about supply chain challenges.

Despite this, only 19% of consumers expressed concern about the availability of their favourite treats and only one-third revealed difficulties in finding it in the past six months. Notwithstanding, 78% are likely to revert to ecommerce channels for the snack fix this year.

Respondents also said that if a food item were out of stock, they would most likely purchase a different size than their normal choice (82%), try a different brand (81%), or go to a different store to look for the item (77%).

Celebrations in flux

Frito-Lay’s delving found that while plans remain fluid for many Americans, of those determined to celebrate Christmas in the style they did pre-pandemic, 39% are expecting to socialise out a lot more, over a restaurant meal or tucking into their favourite tipple with friends at a bar. A popular pursuit will also involve travelling.

Only 28% of this group intend to do more hosting at home, but to make it memorable, will take the time to create magic in the kitchen with roasts and bakes. They also expect to attend religious gatherings to mark the occasion.

Of the group who will maintain pared-down pandemic-influenced celebrations like last year, 40% plan to stay at home for Christmas.

When it comes to saying ‘sayonara’ ​to 2021 and ring in the new year, 43% of Americans are scheduling to hunker down at home alone or with the people who live in their household.

Nearly half of Americans will be venturing out to paint the town red, and 13% plan to host a party at home with people from outside their household. Finger snacks will make a bigger appearance at holiday gatherings this year, with 44% of socialites this year – compared to 38% in 2020 – planning to charm guests with assembly of nibbles and canapes.

A new beginning

It’s that time again when people worldwide set a goal (or several) in an attempt to improve their lives, with the most common New Year’s resolutions being to exercise more, improve fitness, eat healthier, save money, lose weight and reduce stress, according to Statista.

This year will be no less different, as Frito-Lay’s Holiday Index revealed. To back up their goal towards improving their overall health and wellbeing, 30% of Americans are determined to swap out more calorie laden treats with healthier snacks like nuts, seeds, peanuts and granola bars.

Additionally, 22% of adults plan to try new snack flavours in the new year.

The massive transition to remote work was a necessity during the pandemic, however many office-based companies are now adopting hybrid work models for the long haul.

However, a Forbes article reported that 77% of workers say they will be returning to the office in January 2021 – and more than half are looking forward to it, despite the recent spread of the Omicron variant of COVID. This means a return of the ‘on-the-go munchies’ and 78% of those returning anticipate reverting to the same snack options as before.

To help Americans maintain their shiny new purpose, 21% intend to buy more individually packaged snacks, while 20% are planning to buy their better-for-you choices in bulk to portion themselves into convenient, calorie-specific packs to take into the office.

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