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The Favorite Road Trip Snack in Every State [2022 Data Study]

Alex Miller's image
Alex Miller
Alex Miller's image

Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

Countries Visited: 34U.S. States Visited: 29

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

Countries Visited: 44U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Road trip snacks: Many agree they’re a necessity for any drive that’s longer than an hour or 2. Passengers are often passionate about what they eat during road trips, and a lot of people stick with the same snacks for life. That being said, preferences vary from person to person, and almost everyone has their own snack of choice. This inspired us to look into how road trip snack preferences vary across the country, so we referenced Google Trends data to determine the favorite road trip snack of every U.S. state.

The Most Popular Road Trip Snacks in Every State
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

There’s a lot of variety among the snacks that made the list, so let’s break things down. Hummus, which is the favorite road trip snack of Delaware, Massachusetts, and New York, is the only food on the entire list that doesn’t come in a bag or box. It’s also one of the healthiest snacks listed here, so if you’re able to comfortably eat hummus in the car, we’d highly recommend it. Rice cakes are another healthy option, and they’re actually the favorite road trip snack of a very impressive 7 states.

The sheer amount of salty finger foods that made the list is kind of hard to ignore. One example is the favorite road trip snack of Pennsylvania, pretzels, which we think might be popular there due to the popular pretzel-producing company UTZ being based in Hanover. More examples of salty finger snacks include potato chips, Cheez-Its, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Combos, Chex Mix, pork rinds, sunflower seeds, nuts, trail mix, popcorn, and beef jerky.

However, there are some fans of sweet snacks, too. Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Tennessee love Sour Patch Kids, and Minnesota was the only state to choose a chocolate snack in the form of Snickers. There’s also Utah and their fruit snacks, if you want to count those as a sweet snack.

The Most Popular Road Trip Snacks in Every Region
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

Potato chips rule the Midwest, which really shouldn’t be too surprising considering it’s a region known for putting them in everything from chocolate chip cookies to fish dishes. At the same time, the Northeast is torn between 3 of the healthiest snacks on our list while the South favors one of the most unhealthy, Combos. Then the West agrees with the Northeast on the rice cakes front.

Was anyone previously aware of the popularity rice cakes retain as a road trip snack? There must be a lot of people planning ahead because they’re certainly not the kind of food that’s going to be available at every gas station like potato chips or Combos are.

The Most Popular Road Trip Snacks Overall
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

As it turns out, one of America’s favorite snacks isn’t only popular in the Midwest. Potato chips were the most popular road trip snack overall and the most popular road trip snack in 3 more states than Combos or rice cakes. Sour Patch Kids performed the best out of any snack that was the product of 1 specific brand, and salty snacks were preferred to sweet ones in a competition that was never really a competition.

Methodology

We compiled a list of 22 of the most popular road trip snacks and then looked up the last 5 years’ worth of Google Trends data for each snack in each state to determine clear winners for the most popular road trip snack in each state, region, and overall.

Final Thoughts

While potato chips were the road trip snack champion by a decent margin, there were quite a few other snacks that were the favorite of at least 2 states, including rice cakes, Combos, Sour Patch Kids, sunflower seeds, hummus, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, popcorn, and pork rinds.

There’s no shame in being the favorite road trip snack of just 1 state though, and this was a common occurrence (string cheese in Colorado, nuts in Hawaii, Cheez-Its in Iowa, beef jerky in New Mexico, trail mix in North Dakota, pretzels in Pennsylvania, Chex Mix in South Dakota, and fruit snacks in Utah).

There were also some snacks that were in our original list of 22 search terms but weren’t the favorite of even 1 state. These include Swedish Fish, gummy bears, Fritos, and Reese’s.

Alex Miller's image

About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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