Potato chips remain Australia’s favourite snack food, with potato chip snackers also likely to be soft drink sippers, according to a new study by Roy Morgan Research.

Over the last five years, potato chips’ status as the nation’s favourite snack food has remained unchallenged, with 42 per cent of the population (or 8.2 million people) now eating them in any given seven days (up from 41 per cent as of 12 months ago). Furthermore, 62 per cent of potato chip snackers also consume some kind of soft drink during that time — well above the national average (48 per cent).

“The news that potato crisps are still Australia’s favourite snack, eaten by more than 8 million people in an average seven days, can be seen as somewhat concerning from a health perspective – especially when sugary soft drinks are also part of the dietary equation,” Andrew Price, GM– Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, said.

Corn chips and other salty snacks, such as Twisties, Cheezels, and popcorn, also seem to go hand in hand with elevated incidence of soft drink consumption. Sixty-two per cent of people who eat corn chips, and 70 per cent of those who snack on Twisties, Cheezels and other chips consume soft drinks in an average seven days.

“While it’s true that snack food brands have made the effort to introduce low-salt and/or diet variations to their product ranges, these have not proven as popular as the originals. In fact, our findings show that people who snack on crisps, corn chips and the like are less likely than the average Aussie to agree with health statements such as ‘I always think of the number of calories in the food I’m eating’, ‘A low-fat diet is a way of life for me’ and ‘I restrict how much I eat of fattening foods’.

“Not surprisingly, given this relaxed attitude to health issues, it’s young men and women under 25 who tend to be the most avid consumers of these salty snacks. Consumption only really drops off among the over 50s, an age when one’s health inevitably becomes more of a preoccupation,” Price said.

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