Snacking Closeup: 2024 State of the Industry Report

Snacking Innovation is Heating Up!

SNAC International’s 2024 State of the Industry Report, brought together by Circana and Sosland Publishing, takes a deep dive into the latest on industry trends, sales/unit data, new product innovation, and insights from some of the leading innovators contributing to the snack industry.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll find inside…

By the Numbers...

Snacks in bowl.
37% of salty snack consumers overall, and 44% of millennials, enjoy trying new types of salty snacks.
While potato chips led the salty snack category with $8.6 billion in sales, tortilla chip sales increased by 9.5% as well as unit increases.
tortilla chips.
Potato chips.
Pacman eats tortilla chips.

“Salty snacks have bucked the trends with continued growth driven by tortilla chips,” said Circana’s Sally Lyons Wyatt. “The taste, texture and versatility of tortilla chips appeal, and they are a favorite of the younger generations due to tremendous innovation with products.”

The salty snacks category posted 6.9% growth with more than $31.1 billion in dollar sales.
31.1 billion in sales, 6.9% growth.

Insights into the Snacking Consumer

Light bulb.
55% of Millennials and GenZ consider themselves savvy snackers, saying their favorite snack combinations are inspired by what they have in the pantry.

Consumers are getting creative with food…

Watching cooking demo on mobile device.
  • 32% turn to social media for additional ideas.
  • 65% admit to creating unusual snack combinations.
The average American spends only 52 minutes per day preparing and eating meals, while 1/3 say they have <30 minutes a day.
52 Minutes.
Less than 30 minutes.
  • Consumers are integrating favorite snacks into meals, up 35% over previous years.
  • Once a week, more than 1/2 of consumers use both sweet and savory snacks as a key ingredient in no-prep dinners.
  • More than 1/3 use snacks multiple times a week.


Crunchy snack.
Higher expectations on multi-sensorial experiences – go beyond taste, smell, and appearance and adding the way food feels and sounds.

Snack producers are hot on the spicy snack trail. Interest in spicy foods grew in the first half of 2023, with spicy Nashville, hot, spicy margarita and mango habanero flavors seeing triple-digit increases.

Hot sauce and pepper.
Person hands another person a snack bag.
Consumers want healthier snacks! 39% of salty snack consumers say they would purchase more better-for-you snacks if available.

Pumping up the protein and adding energy boosting ingredients in 2024 will win with Americans.

Protein bar.
  • 55% of consumers point to protein as the most important health claim.
  • More than 7 in 10 parents and millennials say they seek snacks to supply energy.
Kid eating snack

Access category-specific sales data and more!


Right Back At It

A resurgence of innovation with consumers in mind provides the path to growth for snacks.

Partnering for Brand Growth

Contract manufacturing enables emerging snack companies to scale their products.

Sisterhood in Snacking

The pipeline to female leadership in the snack industry demands awareness and support.

At a Glance: Snack Sales Soar

All data is from Circana and commissioned by SNAC International.

Powerhouse Potato Chips

  • The total Potato Chip category reached $8.6 billion in sales. This is a 7.7% increase from 2023, while unit sales saw a minimal decline of 1.9%.
  • The category benefits from its ability to constantly refresh itself through new flavors.
  • Diverse pack sizes and new, innovative flavors capitalize on the versatility of potato chips.
  • Potato chips remain the largest category in salty snacks by more than $1 billion.

Tortilla Chips: Hotter and Healthier

  • Whether its spicy, savory, sweet, or sour, tortilla chips saw steady growth for the $6.9 billion category, posting a 9.4% increase in dollar sales and 0.3% rise in unit sales.
  • Better-for-you options made with alternative grains, higher fiber, and no artificial preservatives continue being introduced.
  • Spicy flavors still dominate among new product launches, including hot takes on mustard, lemon, lime, queso and more.

Pretzels: Nuggets of Good News

  • Pretzels hit a trifecta in 2023 with growth in sales (8.7%), number of units (2.2%), and volume or "pounds sold" (0.7%).
  • Three main trends are driving pretzel sales:
    • Private label sales soared more than 20%
    • Brands are emerging in the better-for-you category with snacks that are naturally baked not fried
    • Flavor innovation and other snack combinations (eg. trail mix) are driving sales
  • FUN FACT: Pennsylvania is the home state for 80% of the nation's pretzel production.

Crackers: Something for Everyone

  • Cracker sales topped $9.4 billion with a dollar sales increase of 7.2%, although unit sales dropped 3.3%.
  • Data provided by Kellanova found that 60% of snackers prefer a crunchy snack.
  • Healthy options for the body and planet are growing, including crackers with sustainably sourced ingredients and better packaging solutions..
  • Brands are exploring flavors that are spicy and sweet along with new textures to keep consumers engaged.
  • Companies are reaching out to young consumers with promotions like gaming tie-ins and featuring popular characters.

Popcorn: Kernels of Optimism

  • From a performance perspective, 2023 saw a sharp contrast to 2022 when total popcorn sales rose 13.1% and seven out of the top 10 brands boasted double-digit sales increases. In 2023, dollar sales recorded a 1.4% increase with a 4.3% decrease in unit sales.
  • Softening sales are not because of the lack of flavor bomb innovation as popcorn producers seek to compete in the broader snacking arena.

Say Cheesy

  • The nearly $2.9 billion category saw 4.1% growth with cheesy and spicy proving to be a winning combination amongst consumers.
  • Cheese Snack brands made of 100% cheese are showing up on recommended snack lists for those seeking a portable, better-for-you snack because they are high-protein and low in carbs.
  • Cheese Snack makers are working to expand their reach by offering recipes on their websites featuring new ways for customers to try these products.

Corn Whole

  • Private label saw a 54.7% increase in dollar sales and a 26.9% rise in unit sales from 2023. Volume sales were also up 23.4%.
  • Innovation may be providing the category with a boost, but nothing comes close to dislodging the classics from atop their perch.

Pork Grind

  • The Pork Rind category's difficulties in 2022 continued into 2023 with dollar sales down 5.5%, unit sales down 10.2%, and volume sales down 10.3%.
  • The category remains cautiously optimistic because pork rinds fulfill a vital part of consumers' dietary routine., particularly with high-protein and low-carb snacks.

More category reports can be found within the full report.

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