The U.S. of Lay's: each state's most recommended snack brand

Paul HiebertData Journalist
July 05, 2016, 6:49 PM GMT+0

Data from YouGov Profiles reveals the top salty snacks across all 50 states

On average, about 65% of Americans snack between meals. 56% admit they sometimes eat out of boredom, rather than hunger. And while more than 50% eat chips at least once per week, just over 40% say they do the same with crackers. Americans, it seems, enjoy their snacks.

Taking a closer look at over two dozen particular snack brands — from Cheese Nips to Tostitos to Chex Mix — new data from YouGov Profiles shows which product each state is most likely to recommend. See the snack map below:

At a glance, the big winners are Lay's and Doritos, which dominate the Midwest and Deep South. (Or, we should say Frito-Lay and its corporate parent, PepsiCo, are the real winners here, since they own both brands, along with Cheetos and Tostitos.)

Oregon and Colorado, two states known for their more health-conscious, outdoorsy approach to life, recommend Wheat Thins and Triscuit crackers over any of the more traditional chip offerings. In the Northeast, Cape Cod potato chips claim a victory in their native Massachusetts, along with the adjacent states of Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Perhaps this shows that despite the long reach of the internet, geographical location still matters to companies and customers, alike.

In the end, however, Frito-Lay's national brand recognition and massive advertising budget are hard to compete against. In 2012, the New York Times wrote that "Frito-Lay has long dominated the snack-food business by relentlessly focusing on the middle swath of America that eats chips and pretzels and party mix without regard to the effect on the waistline." That investment still seems to be working, as North Americans continue to spend around $124 billion a year on snack food.

*The following states had sample sizes of under 100: Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.