The good news for convenience store operators is that Americans are only going to consume more and more potato chips over the next few years.
The bad news is that retailers may not know which chips Americans’ will be reaching for the most.
Research by Statista GmbH, however, sheds light on the continuing growth of potato chips in the U.S., as well as consumers’ favorite flavor.
The Hamburg, Germany-based market research firm found that 284.37 million Americans consumed potato chips in 2020, and that number is projected to increase to 292.95 million in 2024. The data was calculated by Statista based on the U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS).
Of keener interest to convenience store retailers – and the answer might surprise them — is which flavor variety most consumers are looking for most.
The surprising answer: plain.
According to Statista, as of July 2021 the number of consumers eating different flavors of potato chips, in millions, was:
Sour cream and onion: 69.67
Salt and vinegar; 48.07
Other flavors: 35.17
No salt/low-salt: 20.86
But there is more to potato chip variety than just taste. Consumers are just as fiercely loyal to brands and types of chips as they are to flavors. According to Mashed.com, citing research company Wonder: “If you’re like most Americans, odds are your go-to chip is Lay’s. According to Lay’s has a whopping 59.9% share of America’s potato chips industry, the next runner-up is Ruffles, and the bronze medal goes to Pringles.”
Consumers also increasingly favor brands that reflect their values and support popular causes. An example is Doritos, which six years ago partnered with the It Gets Better Project and launched Doritos Rainbows to help celebrate the LGBT community. The popular campaign supported youngsters who identified as LGBT with $10 donations.
As Frito-Lay chief marketing executive Ram Krishnan told mashed.com, “Time and again, our consumers have shown us, there really is nothing bolder than being true to yourself and living life to the fullest. With Doritos Rainbows chips, we’re bringing an entirely new product experience to our consumers to show our commitment toward equal rights for the community and celebrate humanity without exception.”