Potato chips remain Australia’s favourite snacks, Roy Morgan Research

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 14th January 2015
Potato chips remain Australia's favourite snack food
Potato chips remain Australia’s favourite snack food

When it comes to the nation’s most popular snacks, it seems Australians’ tastes tend more towards savoury than sweet. Potato chips are a favourite — 41 per cent of Australians snack on potato chips in an average seven-day period, according to findings from market research organisation Roy Morgan Research.

Other popular savoury snacks included nuts (37 per cent), and savoury biscuits/crackers (32 per cent).

“With two of every five Australians 14+ saying they ‘tend to snack throughout the day’, the snack market in this country is huge,” said Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research. “While potato chips remain the nation’s undisputed favourite snack, their popularity varies between men and women and different age groups. Indeed, this is true of most snacks,” she said.

Top 15 snacks

However, while these salty treats were Australian consumers’ undisputed favourites, they were outnumbered by sweet snacks in the list of top 15 snacks enjoyed by Australians aged 14 years or older.

Roy Morgan Research found that among the 15 snacks most commonly eaten by Australians in an average week, five are savoury, nine are sweet and one (plain/natural yoghurt) was ‘neutral’.

Sugar, spice and all things nice?

Women tended to be more likely than men to opt for snacks that are generally considered to be healthy, such as nuts (39 per cent vs 35 per cent), savoury biscuits/crackers (35 per cent vs 28 per cent), natural/plain yoghurt (32 per cent vs 20 per cent) and health/muesli/fruit bars (18 per cent vs 15 per cent).

Nutritional value and/or calories appeared to be of less concern for men, who were more likely than women to snack on potato chips (44 per cent vs 38 per cent) and corn chips (19 per cent vs 15 per cent) in an average seven days.

Ice cream was the great leveller, enjoyed by similar proportions of women and men, whether it was from a tub (27 per cent of women vs 28 per cent of men) or on a stick (19 per cent of both).

Older Aussies: nuts for nuts

Age was also a determining factor in Australians’ snacking habits. For example, in any given seven-day period, 60 per cent of teenagers under 18 and 50 per cent of 18-24 year-olds snacked on potato chips — compared with 34 per cent of 50-64 year-olds and 23 per cent of those aged 65 and older.

What’s more, younger Australians (and those up to 49 years) were more likely than those aged 50 or older to tuck into everything from lollies to chocolate bars, corn chips and health/muesli/fruit bars.

Among the more mature demographics, nuts and savoury biscuits/crackers were more popular than potato chips, with 50-64 year-olds being the age group most likely to snack on nuts in an average seven days and Australians aged 65 or older being the biggest fans of savoury biscuits/crackers.

“Age and gender are just two factors that influence a person’s snacking habits: attitudes towards food are obviously another,” Ms Smith said. “For instance, more than three of every five Australians say they ‘prefer to eat healthy snacks’ and nearly the same amount restrict how much they eat of fattening foods. Predictably, these people are more likely than others to opt for healthier snacks such as nuts and muesli bars,” she said.

“Add sweet tooths and savoury cravings to the equation, and the snack food market gains another degree of complexity,” Ms Smith said. “This is why an in-depth understanding of Australian snack consumers, and their diverse habits, attitudes and preferences, is so vital for snack-food brands to ensure they catch the attention of their target market,” she said.

Continuation of 2013 trend

Potato chips have remained popular for several years in Australia as a snack. Australian Food News reported in June 2013 that potato chips had defied an overall downward trend in snack foods and remained popular, with a third of Australians saying in 2013 that they had recently eaten the snack food.