New Frito-Lay Survey Highlights Just How Popular Crunchy Snacks Are

When we think of snacking, we tend not to think of sitting in silence eating soft foods like applesauce, oatmeal, Jell-O, rice, mashed avocado, mushy peas, and other overcooked vegetables. There's a time and a place for those foods, and usually, it's after dental work and oral surgery (per Art of Dentistry Institute). The thing is, when we want a snack, it's a no-brainer to grab things to munch and crunch – foods with a firm texture that make some noise when you eat them and make other people wonder what you're chomping on; foods like cheese and crispy crackers, crackly tortilla chips and salsa, potato chips and dip, a handful of nuts, pretzels and mustard, celery and peanut butter, or cookies (with or without milk).

The findings of the latest Frito-Lay U.S. Trend Index confirm our suspicions: A whopping 70% of survey respondents said they go for something crunchy when they have a snack attack (per PR Newswire). Oftentimes, the snack is a sweet treat (66%), while 61% reach for something well-salted. Meanwhile, 53% of survey respondents indicated they crave a snack that fills them up (and perhaps curbs their desire to keep on crunching). In a perfect world, the perfect snack also caters to our taste for nostalgia and conjures up memories of times past (49%).

Which crunchy snacks do people of different ages go for?

While we can all agree on loving snacks with crunch, the Frito-Lay U.S. Trend Index shows there's no universal code when it comes to eating between meals (per PR Newswire). Nearly half of Generation Z poll respondents do their best munching and crunching at night, often having their snacks of choice delivered to their doors. Half of millennials surveyed said it's typical for them to hit up grocery and convenience stores at night for their snacks of choice. Meanwhile, 62% of baby boomers and 64% of Gen Xers said they prefer to snack in the comfort of their homes. Speaking of comfort cooking: Many of the poll's respondents said they would prepare recipes made with snack foods (like those found on More Smiles With Every Bite) for friends and family this holiday season. Go-to ingredients include Lay's potato chips (46%) Rold Gold pretzels (40%), and Cheetos Original (37%). Potato-chip-crusted cheese balls, anyone?

Chew on this: This crunchy-good survey was conducted at the behest of Frito-Lay North America, the massive (and highly profitable) convenience food arm of PepsiCo, Inc. Crunchy snacks made by this giant of the snack food world include Sun Chips multigrain crisps, Doritos tortilla chips, Cheetos snacks, Tostitos tortilla chips plus related dips, Fritos corn chips, and fan-favorite Ruffles and Lay's potato chips ("Nobody can eat just one”). The company, based in Purchase, New York, operates more than 30 manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Canada.