Snacking is a universal human experience. While each corner of the planet has its own specific regional tastes and preferences, globalization has made it possible for flavors to travel all over the world. And based on the results of a survey conducted by one of if not the biggest snack company on the planet, consumers are arguably more receptive to tastes from around the globe than ever before.
That’s according to Frito-Lay’s annual “U.S. Snack Index”, a survey of 2,200 American adults which found that today’s consumers are quite open-minded. More than two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) cop to eating “globally-inspired foods and flavors” at least monthly. A full three quarters of respondents (76 percent) say they enjoy trying flavors from places and cultures that aren’t their own.
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That love for exploring flavors (the survey calls out tahini, turmeric and seaweed by name) could manifest in some strange ways. “It’s given us a ‘tasty’ challenge— to predict, respond, and adapt to rapidly expanding consumer preferences,” Michael Lindsey, chief transformation and strategy office at Frito-Lay North America told Fast Company. “We believe it’s our job to develop and deliver snacks that equally delight a niche community as well as a mass crowd.”
At the same time as consumers are willing to try tastes they hadn't previously encountersd, they’re also loyal to their hometown favorites. A full 84 percent of Gen Z-ers (I guess they’re taking the place of millennials in surveys now) say they prefer flavors from places they’ve lived. So even though are tastebuds are on the hunt for international tastes, a sense of regional tribalism is still alive and well in the snacking world.
So if you stumble across seaweed-flavored Cheetos or turmeric Fritos in the near future, don’t freak out. Those flavors might just be exactly what you’ve always wanted.