When it comes to snacking, consumers want want to have their salty snack and eat it too. Or, to put it another way, they want their salty snacks to be indulgent, but they also want them to be healthier.

Threading the salty-but-healthy snack combination is a major key in appealing to consumers over the next few years, according market research publisher Packaged Facts in the brand new report Salty Snacks in the U.S., 4th Edition.

To date, marketers have been quick to develop new products and modify the ingredients of existing products to keep salty snacks relevant even in the discussion of healthier-for-you snacks.

This quick uptake of an important trend, coupled with the growing desire of consumers to eat on the run and the enduring need of snackers to indulge themselves, all combine to create a strong driver for salty snack sales between now and 2020, notes David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts.

While the snackification of other products such as yogurt, cheese, and proteins (meat snacks) are pulling consumers away from salty snacks, there remains sufficient interest from consumers in the snacking staples — such as potato chips and tortilla chips that are found in three-quarters of homes — that sales of salty snacks will grow moderately well over the next five years despite the increased pressure from these competing snacks.

Potato Chips reign as top salty snack

Packaged Facts' data also reveals that growth in sales of salty snacks in the U.S. has been steady recently.

Sales increased 3.5 percent to reach $22 billion in 2015. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for salty snack sales in the U.S. between 2010 and 2015 was 3.7 percent.

The aforementioned potato chips continue to be the top salty snack seller in the U.S., with the category taking in $7.5 billion in 2015. The next strongest category is tortilla and tostada chips, which garnered $5.2 billion in sales. 

The salty-but-healthy dichotomy also has spurred growth in the ready-to-eat popcorn segment, which just happens to satisfy consumer desire for convenient snacking as well. Looking ahead, Packaged Facts forecasts the salty snack market's CAGR between 2015-2020 will be 4 percent.

New flavors appeal to consumers

As part of their ongoing and future growth strategies, marketers can develop new products to appeal to salty snackers in a number of ways.

Topping the list is broadening flavor profiles by tapping into flavors traditionally found in other foods and other regions of the world and marrying them to existing salty snack formats such as potato chips or pretzels.

Of course, the traditional flavor pairing of sweet and salty continues to appeal to consumers as well, particularly as the number of unique flavors in snacks grows and snackers look to satisfy any nostalgic snack cravings.

New snack shapes are also a growing way for marketers to appeal to consumers, with new technologies allowing for innovation in the way the snacks are both shaped and cooked.

Salty Snacks in the U.S., 4th Editiondefines the market for the salty snacks segment of food & beverages using the following product categories: potato chips, tortilla/tostada chips, pretzels, cheese snacks, corn snacks, ready-to-eat popcorn/caramel corn, pork rinds, and other salted snacks. 

The report provides an in-depth analysis of salted snack products and sales through all channels in the U.S. market, focusing on the key categories of snacks driving the market and highlighting the trends that are driving sales.

No other market research report provides both the comprehensive analysis and extensive data Salty Snacks in the U.S., 4th Edition offers. Moreover, all information and analyses in the report is highly accessible, presented in concise text and easy-to-read and practical charts, tables, and graphs. To purchase the report visit the Packaged Facts website.

Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, consumer packaged goods, and pet products and services.  Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.