ROCKVILLE, MD. — The U.S. salty snacks market is forecast to grow to $29 billion by 2022, up from $24 billion in 2017, according to a new report from market research firm Packaged Facts.

In the report, “Salty snacks: U.S. market trends and opportunities,” Packaged Facts identifies several avenues for growth over the next five years, including a trend toward healthy and nutritious products that deliver on taste. New taste and flavor combinations also are expected to flourish, as will “better-for-you” snacks that feature alternative ingredients and different proteins, grains, vegetables and superfoods.

“In recent years, more consumers have moved away from the traditional three meals per day and shifted into a lifestyle involving increased snacking, or multiple smaller meals, throughout the day,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

The research firm said salty snacks grew at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 4% between 2012 and 2017, benefitting from prime placement in vending machines, grab-and-go retail outlets and checkout lanes in grocery stores.

The category faced competition from other snacks, such as chocolate and non-chocolate candy, cookies and crackers. Also providing pressure has been ramped up innovation featuring nuts, seeds and dried and fresh produce, Packaged Facts said.