These four snack factors influence people’s snack cravings

(Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for DC Central Kitchen)
(Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for DC Central Kitchen) /

Beyond the hunger or rumbling in the belly, snack cravings often have a particular slant. When someone wants a salty snack, they will not reach for a candy bar. The same can be said about other flavor offerings. According to the most recent Frito-Lay Snack Index, these four snack factors drive consumers’ snack cravings and snack preferences.

Looking at the snack shelf, the options are many. Over the years, the Frito-Lay Snack Index has revealed some of those preferences. From global flavors to nostalgic bites, the ebb and flow of preferences always evolve.

In the most recent Frito-Lay Snack Index ahead of 2023, the food company found that four snack factors influence people’s snack cravings. In order of popularity, the four snack factors are crunchy, sweet, salty and filing.

According to Denise Lefebvre, senior vice president of R&D for Frito-Lay and Quaker Foods North America, “Consumers are at the heart of all we do, so considering every component of a snack – including the crunch factor – is very important to us. We know the perfect snack is different for everyone, which is why we constantly listen to consumers and then engage our chefs and our Culinary Center to provide variety, deliver on flavor and explore new recipes consumers love.”

Frito-Lay Minis
Frito-Lay Minis added to the snack aisle, photo provided by Frito-Lay /

Snack cravings focus snack factors like crunch, sweet, salty, and filling

Looking at these particular snack factors, the trends can be seen all over the store shelves. Whether it is a potato chip, tortilla chip, or even those classic Cheetos, people cannot get enough of that crunch.

Although the snack index did not specify, the crunch factor is something that is often discussed when chefs compose a dish. Texture often makes eating more enjoyable. That change in texture can be satiating. Whether or not that extra crunch has people eating fewer bites can be debated.

As for the other snack factors, filling might be the most interesting and the hardest to define. It could be that people are looking to find a snack that satisfies their craving but does not require eating a whole bag. Although snacking might not easily fit into healthy eating, the reality is that some people might be consciously eating by proportion. If a snack is filling, it might be a more popular choice for that demographic.

In the end, the Frito-Lay Snack Index could give some insight into the snacks coming to the shelves in 2023. From more Kettle Cooked chips that deliver that heartier crunch to snack mixes that combine salty and sweet, these items might be the must have food items for the New Year.