While savory snacking options in 2020 will maintain the classic comfort flavors, snackers might be in for an extra kick when they open a bag of chips, according to research published by Frito-Lay North America, a subsidiary of Pepsico.

"Spicy things continue to be a really 'hot' trend," Denise Lefebvre, SVP, R&D, Global Food at PepsiCo told Cheddar. "[Consumers are] really leaning towards different, broader — jalapeno, habanero, ghost pepper — and really want to understand the depth and the level of spice that might provide them."

Beloved flavors like cheddar and sour cream or sour cream and onion continue to be popular for snack brands like those under PepsiCo's ownership, but globalization is evolving the tastes of consumers, according to Lefebvre.

"Even markets like the UK, where it's really been thought to have more mild food tastes, some of those subcultures, ethnic subcultures, have really influenced the palates there and continue to influence the palates, everywhere, all over the world," she said.

An unexpected trend Lefebvre also predicted for the near future: alcoholic beverage flavors in snack foods, although PepsiCo currently has no plans to feature adult-focused products with infusions of gin, bourbon, or other boozy flavors. Similarly, the food conglomerate has no plans to add trendy CBD and cannabis to its portfolio of brands.

"I think we'll always look and understand trends and where the consumers are going, and we want it backed with good science and good understanding," Lefebvre said regarding cannabis infusions.

The PepsiCo executive also added that the company will continue to pursue the healthier snacks trend, with products that feature more whole grains, proteins, and vegetables like Sun Chips and Off The Eaten Path.

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