America is the land of the foodie and the home of the snacker. And even with an increasing array of artisanal food product introductions and the nationwide shift toward living healthier lifestyles, the salty snack—chips, pretzels, cheese snacks or popcorn—continues to reign as a consumer favorite. The percentage of households who purchase salty snacks (more than 90%) in a typical week is on par with the percentage of Americans who own cell phones and is almost as high as the percentage of US homes with a television, according to the Packaged Facts report Salty Snacks in the US.
While potato chips lead the way in terms of popularity, the snack rarely—if ever—occupies a place in the typical American home by its lonesome. For example, there are only 8 million households, or 7% of all households using salty snacks, that consume potato chips alone. In sharp contrast, there are 77 million households, or 67% of the total number of households that purchase salty snacks, that use at least three kinds of salty snacks.
Interestingly enough, in many ways, adults living in households consuming all four major types of salty snacks (potato chips, popcorn products, corn/tortilla chips/cheese snacks and pretzels) tracked by Packaged Facts data represent a bygone image of Middle America. Rather than being young, multicultural and urban, they are more likely than adults on average to be between the ages of 35 and 54 and non-Hispanic white. They are much more likely to live in the Central region of the country and in small and medium-size urban areas. They also have a higher likelihood of working full-time and enjoy a middle- to upper-income life style with a household income of $75,000 or more. Children and parents also are more common in households eating potato chips, pretzels and popcorn products as well as corn/tortilla chips/cheese snacks.