USA – The latest report from snack food giant Frito-Lay North America, a division of PepsiCo., reveals a preference for flavor-dusted chips by Gen Z, different from regular tortilla chips and potato chips that have topped the market for ages.

Frito-Lay conducted a snack survey with the zoomers, born in the late 1990s to early 2000s, noting that nearly 3 in 5 (59%) preferred snacks that had flavor dust and left residue on their fingers.

Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials, also indulged in these types of snacks but only at a moderate level (40%), the study highlighted.

Commenting on the results, Frito-Lay company, a maker of America’s favorite dust-covered chips, from Doritos to Cheetos, said that the study is relevant to the snack industry, considering this consumer group represents a large customer base.

The Frito-Lay survey also revealed that compared with previous years, 3 out of 4 (71%) consumers surveyed said they were excited to try new flavors or variations of their tried-and-true snacks in 2023.

Millennials open to new snack flavors

Breaking that down by generation, 61% of Millennials are the most willing to try new snack flavors, followed by 57% of Gen Z and 52% of Gen X. only 38% of boomers saying they’d be up for trying something new.

“This finding aligns with what we continue to see from younger generations, including a gravitation towards bold and spicy flavors, not only among their favorite snacks but overall food preferences, as well,” said  Denise Lefebvre, SVP of R&D at PepsiCo, to The Takeout via email.

“Because flavor dust is often added to our snacks as a way to boost boldness, flavor, and spice, it makes sense that Gen Z snackers lean those types of offerings,” Denise added.

Another noteworthy finding from the Snack Index is the confirmation that younger people are more curious. Millennial (67%) and Gen Z (57%) respondents were more likely to try a new snack, whereas baby boomers were more apprehensive, with only 38% expressing interest.

“I think our Gen Z consumers want an experience when they snack, and the spices and flavor left behind on their fingers is part of the fun of that experience,” Lefebvre noted.

Chips falls out of favor

The report stated that the shift from chips that have taken lead for years might be ascribed to a poor health reputation.

Referring from the Healthline, the report correlated consumption of potato chips with weight gain, likely due to their high content of refined carbohydrates, fat, and salt

Additionally, because they are most often fried, they are typically higher in trans fats, and calories, and can contain a toxic substance called acrylamide, according to Healthline.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder that brands with a greater focus on healthier snack options are booming in popularity.

Frito-Lay conducted its survey on Jan. 12-17, 2023, with a sampling of 2,000 nationally representative US adults ages 18 and older.

Interviews were conducted via email invitation and an online survey and data was weighted to ensure an accurate representation of the US adult population ages 18 and older.

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