(BPT) - The majority of Americans (86%) agree that summer will look different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest U.S. Snack Index from Frito-Lay, which looked at how consumers are snacking this summer.

The U.S. Snack Index found that indulging in favorite snacks can help people feel happier and can bring back a feeling of comfort and a sense of normalcy. These top findings provide insight into American snacking trends during summer 2020:

1. Snacks are an essential part of summer celebrations

Did you know that the Fourth of July is historically the biggest week of the year for salty snacks? While this year will most certainly look different, salty snacks will still be the center of American celebrations. Frito-Lay produces more than 200 million pounds of snacks leading into the Fourth of July holiday — which adds up to more than 5% of Frito-Lay’s annual production.

2. For some, snacks improve mood

While snacking is clearly a constant among American adults from coast to coast, the U.S. Snack Index found that the way eating snacks makes people feel varies depending on where in the country they live. For example, Chicagoans are the most likely to say that they feel comfortable when eating their favorite snacks, while Los Angeles residents say that they feel happy eating snacks, and residents of Dallas are the most likely to report feeling a sense of normalcy from eating familiar snacks. No matter where you live, snacking tends to improve everyone's mood during otherwise challenging times.

3. Snack foods inspire cooking creativity

As more people are cooking at home, they’re creating fun, family-friendly dishes like nachos and Fritos pie as meals. Therefore, it's no surprise that sales of unflavored tortilla chips like Tostitos are up 31% and corn chips like Fritos are up nearly 14%, according to Information Resources, Incorporated (IRI). To add some flavor variety to your summer, check out Tostitos.com/recipes for new menu ideas — including Greek nachos, Italian nachos and even Philly cheesesteak nachos.

4. Classic snacks remain favorites

No matter what changes, the classics stay just as popular. The summer salty snack of choice is unflavored tortilla chips, according to national data and the top five local markets where Frito-Lay polled consumers. But runners-up include multipack snacks as a top pick in Miami, Dallas and Chicago, where they seem to be looking for daily variety.

5. Bi-coastal friendly competition


Summer brings to light different preferences based on where people live. In a classic rivalry, Los Angeles residents will reach for the classic salted potato chips, like the iconic Lay’s, while New Yorkers grab flavored tortilla chips like Doritos.

6. Staying home means shopping at home

Even though the U.S. Snack Index data showed that some consumers still prefer to shop in person when they can, it’s not surprising that online sales for snacks are up 43% since March 1 of this year, and 74% when compared to last year. So, power up your device of choice and get shopping. To order all your favorite snacks — or to try some new varieties — check out Snacks.com.