category focus

Snacks 2015: top 10 best-selling US potato chip, tortilla and pretzel brands

The US retail potato chips market is worth more than $7bn. Photo: iStock - BWFolsom

Here we present an overview of the retail sales performance of the largest brands in key sectors of the US snacking market in 2015, featuring IRI data showing the top 10 brands in the largest sub-categories.

Any growth in a market the size of US potato chips is impressive. To grow value and volume at time when health is high on the consumer agenda, is particularly so.

Seven of America’s 10 biggest potato chip brands grew in value terms in 2015, according to data from retail analysts IRI for the 52 weeks ending 27 December 2015. (See the tables at the end of this article for full sales data.)

Among the big successes of the past 12 months have been Frito Lay brand Ruffles and Kellogg’s Pringles, which both grew by more than $30m in the past year.

Pringles has room to grow

Kellogg has big ambitions for Pringles in the US, telling last month’s Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference that although the brand is enjoying success in the US, it has a relatively low market share compared with its performance in Europe.

This means the brand has room to grow in North America, believes Kellogg, which plans to invest this year to ensure it has the core range right while opening up new occasions and retail channels through the smaller snacking tin format.

The ability to target a wide range of occasions is a key reason for the success of the Frito-Lay business, according to owner PepsiCo, which last month reported 2% net revenue growth in its Frito-Lay North America division in 2015, with operating profit up 6%.

The reason Frito-Lay does as well as it does is that it can take in occasions from across the snacking categories,” said PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi at the time, adding that shifting focus from what it called XXL size packs to smaller XL bags had increased penetration in smaller households.

Strong growth from Kettle

In percentage terms, Kettle was one of the strongest chip brands - so little wonder that Snyder’s-Lance was keen to snap up Kettle owner Diamond Foods in a $2.6bn deal that completed a few weeks ago.

Sales of Snyder’s-Lance core market-leading pretzel brand Snyder’s of Hanover were down around $15m in the past year, although this was partly offset growth in the 100-Calorie and Pretzel Poppers ranges. Although not big enough to make the list of top 10 pretzel brands, Poppers sales have reached $9.7m in less than a year on shelf.

While the overall pretzel category is looking flat, there is plenty of growth from other snacking sub-categories.

Popcorn is popping

Strong performances from private label products and the Barcel brand have driven almost $150m growth in the tortilla/tostada category, while Frito-Lay has made a major contribution to the growth of both the corn snacks and the cheese snacks markets it dominates.

And, of course, the popcorn market is popping – making it the strongest of IRI's snacking sub-categories in percentage terms. Number one brand Smartfood has grown more than 20% to $244.7m, while second-placed Skinnypop is catching up – growing 51.6% to $176.9m.


Year on year performance. Source: IRI 52w/e 27 December 2015 (Supermarkets, drugstores, mass-market retailers, gas/c-stores, military commissaries and select club and dollar retail chains)
Note: data can be re-ordered by clicking on column heading


Year on year performance. Source: IRI 52w/e 27 December 2015
Note: data can be re-ordered by clicking on column heading


Year on year performance. Source: IRI 52w/e 27 December 2015
Note: data can be re-ordered by clicking on column heading

CORN SNACKS (exc tortilla chips)

Year on year performance. Source: IRI 52w/e 27 December 2015
Note: data can be re-ordered by clicking on column heading


Year on year performance. Source: IRI 52w/e 27 December 2015
Note: data can be re-ordered by clicking on column heading

Related News

New Snyder's of Hanover, Cape Cod, Lance and Snack Factory products

Snyder's-Lance launches raft of new branded snacking lines

Pretzel Pete Mini Twists are sold in 3.5-oz packs

Pretzel Pete reformulating products following Mini Twists launch

Oatmega bars are available in a range of eight flavors. Source:

SkinnyPop owner Amplify acquires Oatmega producer Boundless Nutrition

Four new 300 lb kettles have been installed at the site

Inventure invests $6m in kettle lines to meet demand for Boulder Canyon chips

La Tortilla Factory goes clean label and non-GMO

Cleaner labels can increase inefficency, but will ultimately pay off, says La Tortilla Factory innovation chief

New potato chip brand Uglies uses cosmetically-rejected potatoes

Giving ugly a chance: New potato chip brand Uglies uses cosmetically-rejected potatoes

Cheez-It sales have grown around 4% a year for 19 consecutive years

Kellogg: Single-serve formats a big opportunity for Pringles and Cheez-It

Frito-Lay operating profit has risen 6% year on year

Grow the core and add more: PepsiCo reports Frito-Lay profit up 6%

Volumes sales of hot cereals category are flat year on year. Photo: iStock - Vladislav Nosick

Hot cereals 2015: top 10 best-selling US hot breakfast cereal brands

US breakfast cereal market value declines in 2015, but Raisin Bran and Cinnamon Toast Crunch register growth

Cold cereals 2015: Top 10 best-selling US breakfast cereal brands

Donut sales grew 5% year on year in the US in 2015. Photo iStock - Ben Harding

Bakery products 2015: the top 10 suppliers in key US industry sectors

Comments (1)

Tracy - 06 Jul 2017 | 08:44

Greasy good

Ruffles are so good!! Especially the all dressed ones the #1 flavor in canada!! I take a napkin and wipe my hand when I'm done and suck on the napkin because they're so good even the grease!!! I eat them everyday or I go crazy!! Thank you for this godly creation!!!!

06-Jul-2017 at 20:44 GMT

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.