MarketResearch.com, a premier business intelligence marketplace serving the Fortune 1000, announced today the release of a new study “The U.S. Market For Salted Snacks”, by Kalorama Information. In 1999, U.S. sales of salted snacks totaled approximately $15.6 billion, an overall increase of more than 20% since 1995. According to the study, the salted snack market will maintain a growth rate of about 5% through 2004, increasing to almost $19.8 billion. In 1999, sales of potato chips totaled close to $5 billion and projections are that growth in this category will slow from 5% in 2000 to 3.8% in 2004. Tortilla and corn chip sales totaled almost $4.1 billion in 1999, up from $3.3 billion since 1995. Dollar sales in this category are expected to increase to almost $5.5 billion in 2004.

The salted snack market consists of potato chips, tortilla and corn chips, popcorn, pretzels, snack nuts, extruded salted snacks and other salted snacks such as rice cakes and party mix. Salted snacks satisfy the demand for quick, easy foods, fulfilling the consumers growing need for convenience. While potato chips account for 32% of the market share, health conscious consumers have forced marketers to develop products that offer low fat, fat free and low sodium versions. “Marketers must continue to reinvent their products by introducing new packaging, flavors, herbs and spices to create interest and enthusiasm for salted snacks”, said Claire Madden, VP of Marketing. “However, chances of success are greater if marketers have an established product on shelves before branching out into more unusual flavors.”

Share of U.S. Salted Snack Sales by Product Category, 1999
Although competition is fierce with over hundreds of companies marketing salted snacks, PepsiCo‘s Frito-Lay division is the dominant force. Frito-Lay targets consumers across the board, offering products such as Lay’s, Doritos, Cracker Jacks, Cheetos, Rold Gold and Tostitos. The influx of private labeling on the market poses a threat to branded products by lowering prices, influencing consumers to view these products as commodities.

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