Young people were the biggest consumers of snacks
More savoury snacks are consumed in the UK than any other country in Europe, a consumer survey suggests.
Crisps are the favourite snack in the UK with almost £1.4bn spent on them last year, the study by market analysts Mintel found.
A third of people questioned in Britain said they ate a packet of crisps at least once a week.
The average adult in the UK eats £43 worth of savoury snacks a year, compared with £12 for the French and just £7 for Italians.
The report was partly based on a survey of 12,500 consumers across Europe - 2,500 in the UK.
Increasing European sales
The biggest consumers of savoury snacks - which includes nuts, salty biscuits and crisps - were young people aged 15 to 20.
European Snackers: % of under 20s who snack between meals
A total of 64% of under 20-year-olds in the UK admitted snacking between meals, compared with 58.7% of youngsters the same age in Germany, 53% in
France and 40.9% in Spain.
Germany is the second largest market, accounting for 18% of sales, then France, 14%, Spain, 9%, and Italy, 8%.
But snack sales are on the increase in Europe.
In the last five years snack sales have gone up by 57% in Italy and 58% in Spain while in the UK sales rose by 18%.
A majority of Germans questioned said they had eaten crisps two or three times a month.
Anne Bourgeois, European consumer goods consultant at Mintel, said: "Snacking is a well-established habit, with four out of 10 British adults admitting they
often eat between meals.
"Clearly the products have satisfied the need for a quick way to stave off hunger and sales will continue to be driven by new product development and
massive marketing budgets."