Savoury Snacks in Latin America

January 2022

Retail value sales of savoury snacks slipped into decline in 2020, with some countries seeing weaker year-on-year performances as a result of the economic impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) hitting consumers’ disposable incomes. Mobility restrictions also negatively affected on-the-go sales. However, sales rebounded in 2021, with further growth expected in the coming years, in spite of the increasing prevalence of health labelling regulations in the region.

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Key Findings

Struggling economies and pandemic affect historic period performance

A combination of ongoing recessions (eg in Argentina), social unrest (eg in Chile) and the pandemic (across the region) were impacting sales of savoury snacks in Latin America in the final years of the review period. With the pandemic further worsening Argentina’s recession, this country lost almost a quarter of its savoury snacks value sales over the course of 2019 and 2020, for example. This naturally had a dampening effect on the overall region’s performance, which recorded modest positive growth in 2019 and a slight decline in 2020.

Market starts recovering in 2021

Although COVID-19 was still very much present in the region in 2021, savoury snacks sales nevertheless returned to positive growth in this year. Sales are expected to increase throughout the forecast period, driven by popular products like savoury biscuits or potato chips, although the nuts, seeds and trail mixes category is expected to be the most dynamic product area in 2021-2026.

E-commerce remains a minor distribution channel

Although it has recorded very strong sales and share growth during the pandemic, e-commerce was still only accounting for 1% of savoury snacks retail value in 2021. Independent small grocers remains, by some way, the biggest distribution channel, still accounting for almost half of retail value sales.

Health trend could be strengthened by new regulations

There is an increasing trend towards healthier products in Latin America, which will be given added impetus by rising health and wellness concerns due to the pandemic as well as regulations being introduced in a number of countries stipulating that fat and salt content, among other things, have to be clearly stated on product packaging. Mexico already has such regulations in place, while Brazil and Argentina are also expected to see their introduction in the coming years.


Key findings

Regional Overview

Latin America records the slowest historic period growth
Growth rates expected to pick up a little steam over the forecast period
Mexico the main contributor to new sales over 2016-2021
Savoury biscuits, the region’s major product, in decline in 2016-2021
Mexico is the main growth driver in most categories in 2016-2021
Growth picks up again in 2021 after 2020’s pandemic-induced decline
Independent small grocers continue to lead sales…
…but lose some share during the pandemic

Leading Companies and Brands

Increasing concentration among the region’s savoury snacks leaders
PepsiCo continues gaining share in 2021
Argentina’s troubles have been hitting Arcor’s regional share
No changes at the top among the leading brands

Forecast Projections

Positive growth expected for savoury snacks throughout 2021-2026
Nuts, seeds and trail mixes to record the strongest growth
Hard drivers generally working in favour of positive growth in the region

Country Snapshots

Argentina: Market Context
Argentina: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Bolivia: Market Context
Bolivia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Brazil: Market Context
Brazil: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Chile: Market Context
Chile: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Colombia: Market Context
Colombia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Costa Rica: Market Context
Costa Rica: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Dominican Republic: Market Context
Dominican Republic: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Ecuador: Market Context
Ecuador: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Guatemala: Market Context
Guatemala: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Mexico: Market Context
Mexico: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Peru: Market Context
Peru: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Uruguay: Market Context
Uruguay: Competitive and Retail Landscape


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