Low-fat versions slower to catch on

Despite a growing number of consumers identifying themselves as healthy snackers, sales of more traditional snack foods — potato chips, corn chips and cheesy snacks — continue to flourish.

(For the full report, including charts, click here.)

Recent IRI data shows that all of these product areas — the mainstays of the $15.9 billion-a-year snack food market — recorded sales gains during the 52 weeks ended June 15.

Analysts said part of the reason for the continued success of these products has been manufacturers’ ability to respond to demands for products with less fat and fewer calories. For example, Frito-Lay’s Baked Cheetos, the fifth-best-selling brand in the cheese snack segment, contain half the total fat and about 15% fewer calories, compared with regular Cheetos.

Yet while suppliers have been making a concerted effort to meet the demand for healthier options, these products seem slow to catch on with shoppers. Sales of Baked Cheetos, for example, are only about 2% of the sales of regular Cheetos, while sales of regular Cheetos increased by almost 5% over the most recent 52 weeks, while sales of the baked version declined 11%.

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