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Frito-Lay's U.S. Snack Index Predicts 2024 Trends Amidst an Increasing Time Crunch

December 19, 2023 9:01 AM

One-third of Americans have just 30 minutes to prepare and enjoy meals—less time than their average work commutes and TV shows

#GirlDinner is for everyone in 2024

PLANO, Texas, Dec. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The fifth annual U.S. Snack Index confirms what many of us are feeling – there are simply not enough hours in the day. A lack of time to prepare, eat and enjoy meals – especially among parents and younger generations – will blur the once-clear line between "snacks" and "meals" in 2024.

Time is scarce. In 2024, Americans will say goodbye to hours spent marinating, chopping, roasting or baking.

"While Frito-Lay and Quaker's latest Snack Index confirms that time is scarce, the data also reinforces the fierce passion that consumers have for their food preferences," said Denise Lefebvre, senior vice president of R&D for PepsiCo Foods. "As we look to 2024, we have a tremendous opportunity to continue meeting the evolving needs of our consumers. It has never been more important for us to infuse that inspiration with innovation, delivering on our promise of more smiles with every bite."

In advance of 2024, Frito-Lay and Quaker are unveiling the three food and snacking trends poised to shape the year ahead:

The Time Crunch Dilemma
While there might technically always be 24 hours in a day, 80% of Americans feel like their days actually have fewer hours. This burden is most acutely felt by younger generations (85%) with no sign of letting up, as 60% of consumers expect demands to increase in the new year.

In 2024, Americans will say goodbye to hours spent marinating, chopping, roasting or baking. A proliferation of the "no-prep dinner," defined as a simple meal that requires little effort to make, will continue to grow in popularity, alongside dinners rooted in Americans' favorite snack products.

  • A Dash to Dine: According to the Index, the average American has only 52 total minutes per day to prepare, eat and enjoy their meals. One-third of consumers note having even less time, scraping together less than 30 minutes a day to prep and enjoy meals.
  • Snacks Move to Center Plate: More consumers are integrating their favorite snack products into meals, up 35% over previous years. Once a week, over half of consumers proudly use snacks as a key ingredient in no-prep dinners, while more than one-third seize this opportunity multiple times a week.
  • Top Truths: When asked why snacks are an important part of their no-prep repertoire, Americans report yearning for a specific snack (51%) and being too busy to cook (44%) as the top rationale.
  • #GirlDinner Debunked: The internet might have dubbed snack-focused meals as #GirlDinner, but in 2024, the trend is for everyone. Men (92%) report being just as likely to use snack foods in meals as women (93%), with 36% pushing snack and meal boundaries more than in previous years.

Introducing the Snack Savant
The rise of the self-proclaimed Snack Savant will undoubtedly make waves in 2024. There is no shame in their snack game, as the Savants proudly embrace all things food, adventure and community:

  • Defining the Snack Savant: Millennials (83%) and Gen Z (82%) are most likely to embrace this title, with the majority of these Snack Savants also being city dwellers (77%). They are resourceful – 55% report their favorite snack combinations are inspired by what is already in the pantry – and lean on social media for additional ideas (32%).
  • Snacking as an Art, Not an Act: 80% agree that combining multiple food products to create the perfect bite is an art form. While 65% admit to having eccentric snack combos, they are not the slightest bit embarrassed and will proudly "shout their unique combos from the rooftops" anyway.

Snacking for Tasty Satisfaction
In 2024, snacking will be centered on the importance of purpose, protein and packing a punch:

  • Protein Power: When eyeing snacks at the grocery store, Americans cite protein as the most important nutritional attribute (55%). Compared to previous years, an overwhelming 79% of consumers admit it's more critical than ever for protein to take center stage – especially true for those most crunched on time (80%).
  • Energy Boost: At least once a week, 60% of consumers look to their favorite snack products to provide energy. Millennials (72%) are by far the generation most in need of a pick-me-up, compared to Gen Z (62%), Gen X (61%) and Baby Boomers (46%). Parents have everyone beat, with 72% leveraging snacks for energy.
  • Taste Triumphs: Across generations, nearly three-quarters of consumers (74%) refuse to sacrifice taste when selecting their snacks. Baby Boomers are the most unwilling to compromise on taste (84%), followed by Gen Xers at 75%.

No matter your snacking and food preferences, 2024 will be a year bursting with flavor. For more information, visit FritoLay.com/Snack-Index.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted between December 6 and December 12, 2023, among a national sample of 2,000 nationally representative US adults ages 18+. The interviews were conducted using an email invitation and an online survey. The data has been weighted to ensure an accurate representation of the U.S. adult population ages 18+.

About Frito-Lay North America
Frito-Lay North America is the $23 billion convenient foods division of PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP), which is headquartered in Purchase, NY. Frito-Lay snacks include Lay's® and Ruffles® potato chips, Doritos® and Tostitos® tortilla chips and branded dips, Cheetos® snacks, Stacy's® pita chips, PopCorners® popped-corn snacks, SunChips® multigrain snacks and Fritos corn chips. The company operates 30+ manufacturing facilities across the U.S. and Canada, more than 200 distribution centers and services 315,000 retail customers per week through its direct-store-delivery model. Learn more about Frito-Lay at www.fritolay.com, on X (@fritolay), on Instagram (@fritolay) and on Facebook (Frito-Lay).

About The Quaker Oats Company
The Quaker Oats Company, headquartered in Chicago, is a unit of PepsiCo, Inc., one of the world's largest consumer packaged goods companies. For more than 140 years, Quaker's brands have served as symbols of quality, great taste and nutrition. Quaker® Oats, Quaker® Rice Cakes and Quaker Chewy® Granola Bars are consumer favorites. For more information, please visit www.QuakerOats.com, www.Facebook.com/Quaker or follow us on X and Instagram @Quaker.

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SOURCE Frito-Lay North America

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