Most Popular Snack Foods

When it comes to popular snack foods and brands, where do you lean?

Do you like sweets or are you more about salty snacks?

Me, well, it depends on my mood.

Sometimes I’ll want to chase a sweet snack food with something salty from my favorite brands.

You know, sweet and savory.

Turns out, when comparing the snacking tastebuds of boomers, Generation X (of which I’m a member) and millennials, well, we all have our favorites.

Sometimes we like the same popular snack foods.

In other instances, one age group loves a brand that the other ones hate.

How do I know this?

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The folks at Stacker.com analyzed data from research and analytics firm YouGov to see which of the food and snack brands in the United States are most popular.

Originally, the list included brands that make snacks but also things like butter and eggs.

However, to me, snacks are things like the salty and sweet snacks you would get at the movie theater, you feel me?

Did you know that Americans eat an average of eight pounds of candy annually?

And this isn’t just after stocking up after Halloween, Valentine’s Day or Easter candy has gone on sale.

Another sign that desserts are the preferred snack of choice?

Sixty percent of the most popular snack brands in this article are of the sweet persuasion rather than salty.

Read on for a look at some of the most popular food and snack brands in the United States.

Then, they’re broken out by popularity among boomers, GenXers and millennials.

Rice Krispies Treats

Boxes of Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats in supermarket.

JHVEPhoto // Shutterstock

When it comes to snack food popularity, here is how Rice Krispies treats stack up:

  • Millennials: 75%
  • Boomers: 70%
  • GenX: 68%

Milky Way
Group of Milky Way fun size bars.

Steve Cukrov // Shutterstock

I would never go out of my way to buy a Milky Way bar, to be honest with you.

On the other hand, if I got them in my trick or treat bags, also, I wouldn’t go out of my way to trade them away either.

So, how do different generations feel about Milky Way bars?

  • Boomers: 77%
  • GenX: 70%
  • Millennials: 69%

Reese’s Pieces

Hand holding  box of Reese's Pieces candy.

Sheila Fitzgerald // Shutterstock

Reese’s Pieces wasn’t even in the snack food orbit until I was in high school.

That’s when the super popular movie “E.T” came out, and we all learned about Reese’s Pieces.

So, I guess it’s not a surprise, then, that they’re a favorite sweet snack amongst my fellow GenXers.

  • GenX: 73%
  • Millennials: 72%
  • Boomers: 70%

Tostitos

Tostitos bag corn chips on grocery store shelf.

ZikG // Shutterstock

  • Millennials: 75%
  • Gen X: 74%
  • Boomers: 70%

Goldfish

Goldfish Crackers on grocery store shelf.

Sheila Fitzgerald // Shutterstock

This result surprised me.

I really would have thought that Goldfish crackers would have been mostly popular amongst Millennials.

How wrong I am.

  • Boomers: 75%
  • Gen X: 70%
  • Millennials: 69%

Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn

Hand holding box of Orville Redenbacher's popcorn.

calimedia // Shutterstock

I’m not surprised that Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn is one of the most popular snack foods among GenX.

We were raised on that bowtied-guy’s TV commercials.

Perhaps the only other more remarkable popcorn brand seared in our brains would be Jiffy Pop, which appears to be a defunct brand these days.

Adobe Photos

  • GenX: 75%
  • Boomers: 74%
  • Millennials: 68%

Jif

Hand holding jar of JIF peanut butter.

TY Lim // Shutterstock

All together now: who loves JIF peanut butter?

Why, choosy moms, of course.

Because choosy moms choose JIF.

  • Boomers: 76%
  • GenX: 76%
  • Millennials: 69%

Best day to grocery shop, based on millennial preferences.

Lifesavers

Hand holding Life Savers Hard Candy package.

The Image Party // Shutterstock

  • Boomers: 78%
  • Gen X: 77%
  • Millennials: 64%

Kraft macaroni and cheese

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese display.

Jonathan Weiss // Shutterstock

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was a staple in this latchkey kid’s diet.

Sometimes, I’ll still treat myself to a box.

Fun fact: from being a Barenaked Ladies fan and their song, “If I Had a $1,000,000,” I learned that Canadians call this product Kraft Dinner.

  • Boomers: 80%
  • Gen X: 74%
  • Millennials: 68%

Oreo Cookies

Oreo cookies on white background.

rafastockbr // Shutterstock

  • Boomers: 77%
  • Gen X: 75%
  • Millennials: 66%

Fritos

Fritos corn chips bags on shelf.

Lynn Watson // Shutterstock

I never really appreciated the flavor of Fritos chips as a snack food until I tasted a walking taco.

In case you’re not familiar, a walking taco is basically taco ingredients put inside a bag of Fritos.

Delicious!

  • Boomers: 78%
  • Gen X: 72%
  • Millennials: 71%

Ghirardelli

Ghirardelli Chocolate squares in a variety of flavors.

ungvar // Shutterstock

You haven’t experienced chocolate chips until you’ve had Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips.

Also, Ghirardelli brownies (made from a mix) are pretty divine, too.

  • Millennials: 76%
  • Boomers: 74%
  • Gen X: 72%

Twix

Close up Twix packaging on table.

TanyaLovus // Shutterstock

If I got Twix in my Halloween trick or treat bag, you best not be asking to trade.

By far, Twix is my favorite snack food for Halloween.

So much so that when I buy candy to give out now as an adult, I can’t buy Twix bars.

Because I know I’ll eat them all before October 31st rolls around.

  • GenX: 84%
  • Boomers: 70%
  • Millennials: 70%

Here are tips to stock up on candy after Halloween.

Chips Ahoy!

Boxes of Chips Ahoy! Cookies on supermarket shelf.

ZikG // Shutterstock

  • Millennials: 78%
  • Boomers: 75%
  • Gen X: 71%

Lay’s Potato Chips

Lay’s chips in supermarket.

ValeStock // Shutterstock

  • Boomers: 83%
  • Gen X: 78%
  • Millennials: 78%

Cheetos

Hand holding a bag of Cheetos in supermarket.

calimedia // Shutterstock

I’ve never been a Cheetos fan.

And clearly I am an outlier of Generation X.

Because when it comes to this popular snack food, my generation likes it more than either Boomers or Millennials, but not by much.

  • GenX: 77%
  • Boomers: 76%
  • Millennials: 76%

Snickers bars

Close up multiple Snickers bars.

Mehaniq // Shutterstock

  • Boomers: 81%
  • Gen X: 78%
  • Millennials: 70%

Nestle Toll House

Hand holding bag of Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Red Herring // Shutterstock

When you think about making chocolate chip cookies from scratch, do you think as I do?

And that would be Nestle Toll House cookies made with Nestle Toll House chocolate chips.

  • Boomers: 81%
  • Gen X: 76%
  • Millennials: 73%

Pringles

Hand holding package of Pringles potato chips.

8th.creator // Shutterstock

Pringles is one of those brands with one of the most recognizable logos.

I’d say their container is pretty noteworthy, too.

And, clearly, Millennials love Pringles chips.

  • Millennials: 81%
  • Gen X: 77%
  • Boomers: 67%

Ruffles

Large bags of Ruffles chips on store shelf.

ZikG // Shutterstock

  • Boomers: 79%
  • Gen X: 77%
  • Millennials: 77%

Dove chocolate

Dove milk chocolate bars on white background.

tastyfood // Shutterstock

After Easter is a great time to stock up on Dove chocolate.

  • Boomers: 83%
  • Millennials: 76%
  • Gen X: 73%

Planters nuts

Cans of Planters salted mixed nuts in supermarket.

Jenari // Shutterstock

  • Boomers: 88%
  • Gen X: 79%
  • Millennials: 64%

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Reeses Peanut Butter Cup with package.

karen roach // Shutterstock

Also, do you remember the commercials from when Hershey first introduced Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?

As I recall it, someone eating a chocolate bar crashes into someone who is eating peanut butter out of the jar.

Then, they say, “Hey, you got peanut butter on my chocolate,” and “You got chocolate in my peanut butter.”

And the rest is history.

Finally, all of the generations seem to love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups equally.

  • Boomers: 81%
  • Gen X: 81%
  • Millennials: 78%

Doritos

Doritos tortilla chips bags on shelf.

The Image Party // Shutterstock

  • Millennials: 82%
  • Gen X: 77%
  • Boomers: 69%

Hershey’s Kisses

Package of Hershey's Kisses in supermarket.

George Sheldon // Shutterstock

  • Boomers: 85%
  • Gen X: 77%
  • Millennials: 73%

Kit Kat

Kit Kat packages close up.

tastyfood // Shutterstock

Here’s another Generation X trip down candy lane.

I remember distinctly when Hershey introduced Kit Kat bars or at least my school cafeteria started stocking them.

It was my elementary school years in the 1970s, because I remember bringing extra money to buy Kit Kat bars with lunch.

They were a new-to-me candy at that time.

Plus, according to this Hersheyland page, Hershey began making Kit Kat bars in the US in 1970.

So, that timeline lines up quite well with my memories.

Therefore, it’s no wonder that my generation likes Kit Kats the most.

  • Gen X: 81%
  • Boomers: 79%
  • Millennials: 76%

Ritz crackers

Hand holding a box of Ritz crackers in a supermarket.

calimedia // Shutterstock

  • Boomers: 82%
  • Gen X: 82%
  • Millennials: 75%

Hershey’s Chocolate Bars

Group of Hershey's fun sized chocolate bars.

Sheila Fitzgerald // Shutterstock

Hershey’s chocolate bars are the ultimate S’mores ingredient, am I right?

  • Boomers: 85%
  • Millennials: 80%
  • Gen X: 78%

Variety of M&Ms milk chocolate candy packages.

tastyfood // Shutterstock

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that of all the snack foods in America, the most popular across generations are M&M’s.

I know they’re top of mind for me, from Halloween to Christmas to Easter, and days in between.

In fact, if I’m stuck in an airport and want a snack, I’ll always grab a bag of peanut M&M’s.

  • Boomers: 89%
  • Gen X: 83%
  • Millennials: 78%