As the popularity of snacking continues to climb, salty snacks are becoming the new comfort food for US consumers. The latest research from Mintel reveals that three in five (62 percent) consumers are eating salty snacks as a stress reliever, compared to 16 percent of American snackers who attributed stress as a reason for snacking one year ago.

What’s more, 30 percent of consumers eat salty snacks when they are bored, with half (51 percent) agreeing that salty snacking is a good way to relieve boredom. In 2015, Mintel research found that half as many consumers (25 percent) snacked because they were bored.

The portability of salty snacks allows consumers to alleviate their stress on the go, with one third (33 percent) of salty snackers eating them away from home and 26 percent eating them at work. Parents are among America’s most prevalent salty snackers and are increasingly likely to snack on salty options while on the go (41 percent), at work (36 percent) and throughout the day (34 percent). What’s more, US parents are more likely than non-parents to agree that snacking is a stress reliever (73 percent vs 55 percent of non-parents).

Mintel research reveals that one third (35 percent) of parents are indulging in the same salty snacks as their children. Moreover, parents (58 percent) are significantly more likely to agree that it’s healthier to snack throughout the day than eat regular meals (compared to 21 percent of non-parents).

“Consumption of salty snacks is largely driven by emotion, including stress and boredom. Consumers are looking for ways to manage their wellbeing, and the impact of food on emotional and mental health is becoming more important. Our research reveals this is especially true among parents, with the majority agreeing that salty snacks relieve stress,” said Amanda Topper, senior food analyst at Mintel. “Not only do parents’ hectic lifestyles force them to snack while on the go, but the majority who buy salty snacks agree that snacking throughout the day is a healthy alternative to regular meals. Brands that highlight health and wellness benefits can appeal to parents that are often buying snacks that can be consumed by themselves and their children.”