Global data insights: Snack flavour preferences from around the world

tna blog

Global data insights: Snack flavour preferences from around the world

posted on 21 November, 2017 by

Flavour is everything  when it comes to food. Chances are that if you don’t like the taste of something you won’t eat it – or at least never eat it again. However, when consumers do find a flavour they truly love, they not only keep coming back to it, but also tend to recommend it to their friends and family – turning loyal customers into powerful brand advocates.

But not everyone’s taste is the same. Around the world, people have very different ideas on what makes the perfect savoury snack. Here, we take a look at some of the key findings from GlobalData’s recent consumer survey.[1]


Salty Europe, savoury Asia and a spicy Middle East

Globally, there are three key flavours that stand out – salty (37%),  savoury (20%) and spicy (11%).

While salty flavours clearly rule the world when it comes to savoury snacks, they are most popular amongst Europeans, where over 44% state it as their preferred flavour, compared to only around 26% of consumers in Asia Pacific.

In Asia Pacific, savoury is a clear favourite with over 30% agreeing it’s their flavour of choice. Spicy flavours are a must for over 15% of consumers in the Middle East, but only marginally appealing to consumers in North America, where only 5% selected it as their preferred flavour.

In North America, nearly 16% of consumers state that they enjoy a taste of sweetness in their savoury snacks, while around 10% of consumers like their snacks to be smoky. Further south, salty once again tops the charts, with over 38% of Latin Americans naming it as their number one flavour.


Graph of flavour appeal in savoury snacks globally


The world in potato chips

The potato chips category is a great example of how these general flavour preferences translate into actual products. While the sweet and smoky flavour of BBQ chips is still a firm favourite for the majority (17%) of North American consumers, spicy varieties like chilli chips are the most popular flavour (20%) amongst consumers in the Middle East. Consumers in Latin America on the other hand have a strong preference for gourmet flavors such as oregano and pesto, while Europeans enjoy the milder spiciness of paprika the most (13%).


Table of potato chips flavour preferences by region


Generation flavour

Whether you like your snack salty, sour, sweet or spicy not only depends on your location and cultural background, but also on your age. As we already discovered in our last blog, not every generation snacks the same. Even though it seems that salty, savoury and spicy are the clear winners across all three generations, some subtle differences can be noticed. While plain or unflavoured savoury snacks are still relatively popular amongst baby boomers (7%), these type of snacks appeal to only 3% of millennials, confirming their general preference for stronger flavours, with smoky and sweet leading the way. Likewise, the preference for spicy snacks decreases with the age of the consumer.

Graph that indicates the generational snack flavour preferences of baby boomers, gen x and millennials

Color coding for each snack flavour preference for the generational snack flavour preferences

What’s your flavour?

Whether sprinkled in salt, infused with vinegar or covered in fiery spices, the right amount of seasoning is vital when it comes to creating the ultimate flavour experience. Get in touch with one of our seasoning experts to find out how our seasoning technology, including the brand new tna intelli-flav® CLS 5 slurry flavour spray system, can help you appeal to every single one of your customer’s taste buds – all while maximising the use of your raw materials.


[1] In Q1 2017 GlobalData surveyed around 27,000 respondents globally to assess consumer perceptions of flavours, fragrances, ingredients, and packaging.