The summer season is packed with snacks. To explore just where, when and how Americans will snack this summer, Frito-Lay today unveiled the next installment of its U.S. Snack Index. 

Snacks play an integral role in the summertime experience. As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day historically starts a spike and then snacking hits its highest point during the week of July 4. In fact, according to retail sales data, the week of July 4 represents the biggest snacking week of the entire year for Frito-Lay. 

"Delighting consumers with a wide variety of snack options has always been our first priority, and it's helped us earn our spot in 94 percent of America's pantries,1" said Mike Del Pozzo, senior vice president of sales, chief customer officer, Frito-Lay North America. "As snacking heats up in the summer months, so do our efforts to make sure that we are delivering the perfect side to any summer occasion."

The broad majority of Americans – nearly nine out of 10 – see snacking as important to summer occasions or can't imagine summer without their favorite snacks. And when it comes to summertime events, there are quite literally millions of them.

Summer Gatherings

Recent estimates2 suggest that America is hosting more than 750 million summer gatherings including pool parties, casual cookouts, backyard barbecues and more. According to the U.S. Snack Index:

  • Millennials, women and parents top the list when it comes to who will host a summer gathering. Approximately 90% of this group views snacks as an important ingredient for a successful get-together.
  • Snacking provisions aren't just considered the responsibility of the host. Three in four adults (77%) come to summertime events armed with snacks.
  • Chips reign supreme across most summer occasions with just over half of Americans (51%) choosing to bring chips to the backyard barbecue, cookout or picnic over any other type of snack.
  • Summer also conjures up a nod to tradition with almost 70% of Americans preferring to stick with the classic, traditional flavors for an extra dose of summer nostalgia.

Given its popularity, the summer gathering is the backdrop of a new advertising campaign highlighting the Frito-Lay summer product portfolio. The campaign features a new seasonal mantra, "The Perfect Side of Summer," and spotlights the many ways to enjoy the long, playful days of summer with crowd pleasers like Doritos, Lay's and Tostitos. 

Family Time – On the Road and Into the Woods
Snacking and summer travel go hand in hand. In a recent survey from AAA Travel3, nearly 100 million Americans will take a family vacation in 2019 – including summer getaways or packing up the car for a road trip this year. And from camping to reunions, families report they are planning to pack their favorite snacks. 

  • Nearly three-fourths of Americans (73%) surveyed in the U.S. Snack Index agree that they travel more in the summer with snacks making the packing list every time. And that number jumps to nearly 80% when polling parents.
  • With reports of camping on the rise especially among Millennial parents4, getting back to nature also conjures up a preference for snacks that provide some type of positive nutrition, with nearly 40 percent of Americans citing nuts, seeds, granola bars and snacks that incorporate fruit, vegetables or legumes as their favorites for the campground.
  • One in four Americans chooses to bring snacks that incorporate fruit, vegetables or legumes (28%) to share with family. But chips are still the most common family favorite to have on deck at a family reunion (33%) as well as frozen or baked sweets (18%), suggesting that family reunion organizers are sure to include something for everyone.
  • Convenience (92%) is the most important snacking factor for summer travel snackers with more than half of Americans picking up single-serve packaging options (65%) before embarking on their journeys.

The Summer Snack Selfie
With more than 90 million selfies estimated5 to be taken every day, Frito-Lay asked consumers which snack was most likely to make a cameo in their summer selfies. Out of corn/tortilla chips, potato chips, cheese curls, pretzels and popcorn, here's what America plans to snap and snack.

  • Potato chips (43%) are the clear winner when it comes to backyard barbecues, cookouts and picnics. Corn and tortilla chips come in a close second (37%).
  • When it comes to rooftop gatherings, corn and tortilla chips (36%) are ahead of the pack when it comes time for photo-worthy snacking.
  • Whether at the pool, at the beach or on a boat, the debate for fan favorite is on. Both potato chips and tortilla chips are the clear selfie leaders.
  • Cheesy snacks are more likely to make the shot while enjoying summer away from home including the beach, the pool, a road trip or even sporting event.

Frito-Lay's U.S. Snack Index is a national survey that reveals how different generations, regions and cities snack when it comes to summer snacking preferences. For more information, visit: Download the full infographic below.

1 Statement reflects the number of households who purchase snacks at least one time in the last 52 weeks (IRI Panel).
2 Poll conducted by Thriveplan among 2,250 participants representative of the U.S. general population, October 2017.
3 2019 AAA Travel Survey; AAA's family travel research is the result of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,007 adults living in the continental U.S. Interviewing for this survey was conducted January 24-27, 2019. This study has an average statistical error of ±3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.
4 2019 North America Camping Report; Annual survey of the general population conducted by Cairn Consulting Group sponsored by Kampgrounds of America (KOA).
5 Google statistics have estimated that about 93 million selfies were taken per day in 2014, counting only those taken on Android devices.