Sales of salty snacks, which witnessed strong growth during the recession in the US, are expected to see sales growth slow as the recovery kicks in, new research has suggested.

According to market analysts Mintel, which compares sales in fiscal 2007 to estimated sales in fiscal year 2009, the potato chip market grew by 22% during the economic downturn. Other salty snacks also witnessed strong recession-fueled growth, with tortilla chips, popcorn and cheese snacks sales increasing 18%, 17% and 20% respectively.

However, with economic recovery now "taking hold", Mintel predicted that sales gains will become sluggish.

Over the next five years, potato chip sales are expected to rise just above 3% annually, while tortilla chip sales should increase just above 4%, Mintel suggested.

"People bought more chips during the recession because they're a good value," Chris Haack, senior analyst at Mintel, observed.

"As the economy gets stronger, we expect annual sales increases to slow, but we don't expect markets to contract. New product innovations and the changed eating habits of many Americans will keep shoppers headed towards the snack aisle."