Frito-Lay survey: 300% surge in online holiday food shopping with snacks at the top of grocery lists

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

©GettyImages / shironosov
©GettyImages / shironosov

Related tags Frito-lay north america Pepsico Snacks holidays

With the holidays approaching, half of US shoppers surveyed by Frito-Lay said they will be shopping for their holiday groceries online this year (up from 15% in 2019) with snacks being a top item for 77% of surveyed consumers.

The snack giant found that consumers are still prioritizing holiday shopping, (with 83% planning to spend the same or more on groceries during the holidays) but will do so mostly online this year prioritizing safety and health amid an uncontrolled pandemic.

The average online basket is up 32% YOY and 75% of consumers intend to make a repeat online purchase in the next 30 days, according to Frito-Lay’s U.S. Snack Index survey which polled 2,220 adults nationally (500 adults in Chicago, Dallas, New York City, and Miami, as well as 400 adults in San Francisco) between Oct. 16-18.

Maintaining health and safety is a top concern (37%) for grocery shopping this holiday season, driving more consumers to adopt online retail and 20% of consumers planning to do their grocery shopping earlier this year, according to the survey’s findings.

The survey found that while Saturday and Sunday used to be the traditional shopping days, consumers are now shopping throughout the week with Wednesday and Thursday seeing an increase in store traffic.

"This holiday season we expect to see more small gatherings and a move away from potlucks, which means more families purchasing the whole meal,” ​said Mike Del Pozzo, senior vice president of sales and chief customer officer, Frito-Lay North America.

Snack stock-up, cooking fatigue?

The majority of consumers polled (63%) said they are using cooking at home as a way to stay entertained in the coming months. Frito-Lay also noted that US consumers are not experiencing as much cooking fatigue as might be expected from nearly eight months of limited dining options. According to the survey, less than half of consumers (40%) indicated they are tired of cooking at home.

At the same time, respondents said they are looking for new ways to “spice up”​ with 83% of respondents saying that they have used or would try a snack food as an ingredient in a recipe, with potato chips (31%) and tortilla chips (32%) the most popular snack food ingredient.

Two-thirds (66%) of survey respondents say they keep more snacks stocked at home during the pandemic than before, and this winter, 54% of shoppers plan to stock up on the snacking essentials with salty snacks being the #5 category consumers are looking to stockpile.

Classic comfort foods

According to Frito-Lay, dips have become an increasingly popular snack registering a 16% increase in purchases over the prior year, with consumers citing convenience/not needing to make it from scratch as the primary reason for purchase.

When it comes to what's on the holiday spreads, Chicagoans ranked sweet snacks first at 61%, San Franciscans preferred chips and dips (58%), and over half of Miamians (54%) are planning to serve cheese and meat platters.

In general, a return to classic rather than seasonal flavors will be a predominant trend this holiday season with 50% of respondents excited for classic comfort foods, compared to 32% who said they were excited for pumpkin spice.

A majority of consumers (63%) also said they are looking for recipe inspiration when it comes to preparing their holiday spreads. As a result, PepsiCo recently launched its online hub of family-friendly recipes​ featuring Frito-Lay Snacks and Quaker food products. Earlier this year, PepsiCo also launched two direct-to-consumer sites –​​​ and​​​ – for consumers to get bulk-sized and multi-pack snacks and beverages shipped directly to their homes. 

“The importance of offering variety and accessibility of America's favorite snacks is a priority for Frito-Lay this holiday season,”​ commented Del Pozzo.

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