As prices for many popular food items, such as wings, pizza, and chips, skyrocketed, many people were forced to go without these staples. Instead, they had to opt for cheaper, more basic snacks such as pretzels, crackers, and fruit. But for 2023 that’s all changed.
Originally published on Forbes.com
Walk into every supermarket across the nation this week and there is no doubt you will know what major food event is coming up on February 12 – it’s Super Bowl time once again. And if you happen to live in Philadelphia or Kansas City – you’ll also be overwhelmed with all the team shirts, hats, footballs, pennants, and stickers to promote your hometown team and Super Bowl LVII.
But what about the food? Philly is known for its cheesesteaks and KC it’s BBQ so expect a lot of supermarket promotions and sales for those ingredients in those cities; but for the rest of the 100 million Americans expected to watch the game, they are looking at those food prices carefully in deciding what to serve this year at their Super Bowl party.
Typically, Super Bowl parties are known for their spread of delicious, indulgent foods and drinks. However, last year was different. As prices for many popular food items, such as wings, pizza, and chips, skyrocketed, many people were forced to go without these staples. Instead, they had to opt for cheaper, more basic snacks such as pretzels, crackers, and fruit. But for 2023 that’s all changed.
Super Bowl parties represent a huge sales boost for supermarkets and foodservice operators. According to SNAC, the trade group for the snack industry, we spent $616 million in 2022 on snacks alone for this Sunday game; up 10.5% over the previous year, and they expect sales to be even higher this year. Frito-Lay’s consumer survey last week polled 2,000 adults who reported that almost half (49%) said that running out of snacks is worse than their team losing. We do love our snacks. According to Hungry Fan, Americans spent around $1.3 billion on beer in the two weeks leading up to the big game, and on game day 325 million gallons of the brew was consumed. And our favorite, with 38% chiming in that its their number one go to Super Bowl mainstay is Chicken Wings, which according to the National Chicken Council we spend over $2 billion dollars (that equates to 1.45 billion chicken wings consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.) for this event’s favorite treat.
We asked our Facebook followers what foods or beverages they would be “doing without” this year as food prices have skyrocketed. And surprisingly, no said they would do without their chicken wings. That’s good news for shoppers as according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s latest data chicken wings are actually lower in price than they were last year – by almost 15%. Want more meat on those bones? Try chicken drumsticks that are even a better deal – last year they were selling at $1.62 a lb, now you can find them at $1.04 according to the USDA Retail Report. There is little doubt that the big winner at the Super Bowl parties this year is chicken. But not everything that comes from a chicken.
It's no surprise to everyone that has shopped for eggs over the past year or so have seen a significant increase – up at least 60% - so it didn’t come as a shock to hear from our followers that deviled eggs, egg salad and hard-boiled eggs will be off the menu this year.
Pork is also loaded with great buys - Back ribs are down almost 50% while Country Style Boneless Ribs and Spare Ribs are about the same price as last year. If your budget is unlimited (and you want to impress) Beef Filet Mignon is also down over 50% over last year's prices and ground beef that is 90% lean or more is about $1 a pound less according to USDA’s National Retail Report.
According to Wells Fargo’s WFC +0.5% Agri-Food Institute report this year’s price of avocados, the main ingredient in guacamole, have dropped a whopping 20% since last year. But buyer beware, as the price of those chips adorning your Guac, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is up 22% AND chips brands have come under fire for succumbing to “shrinkflation” – putting 7-10 chips less in each bag – which means the actual price you’ll pay per ounce is even more than the 22% reported.
For those vegetarians and healthy eaters in the house - relax - a party platter of veggies is only up around 2% and to save more buy the whole veggies and slice them up yourself and serve raw or grilled; but be careful on the dips - anything with eggs, mayo or salad dressing have huge price increases. So, think about using alternatives like salsa and guacamole (and make your own to save even more). Another change will be an increase in the popularity of plant-based options. This could mean that more meatless alternatives such as veggie burgers, portobello mushroom sandwiches, or even plant-based "chicken" and "beef" will be on the menu.
Wells Fargo also reports that beer is up about 11% - but analysis by the analytics firm Pattern, who tracks sales of foods on Amazon.com (which includes Whole Foods delivery) shows that if you buy canned or bottled beer on-line the price is actually down about 2% so check out those on-line stores before you buy. Pattern also reports that the price of Brandy is down 14% and Whiskeys are down 4% - so it’s time to be a bit creative and look up those drink recipes where you can add water or club soda or juice to save even more. Unfortunately, according to Pattern, if you are a Gin, Hard Seltzer, Rum, Tequila, Vodka or Wine drinker all of those prices are up in single digits.
A January 2023 Survey by Statista reports that 27% of us plan to buy take out for the big game. That’s great news for pizza places as in 2022 an estimated 12.5 million pizzas were sold on game day according to the American Pizza Community organization. But check those prices BEFORE you place your order – flour, cheese and oils have all taken huge price increases and unless you have been storing up those delivery coupons you might be better off buying a frozen pizza in the supermarket and baking it in the oven. A quick review on Target’s TGT -1.4% online ordering and delivery portal showed their own brand, Good & Gather selling a frozen 17.5 oz Wood-fired Spinach & Goat Cheese pizza for $7.56, a Red Baron Classic Pepperoni 20.6 oz pie at $5.69 and DiGiorno’s Classic Four Cheese for $5.69 for 12.06 ounces. At Domino’s here in Santa Monica, California the price is $17.99 for a carryout hand tossed 14” large pie (8 slices) with regular cheese and no meat.
Some other hints as you shop for your party list include: bread and rolls are up over 15% , soft drinks are up (because of the price of sugar and those plastic bottles) - but flavored milks, like chocolate milk, are actually down about 25%. Also - very important - don't go for the paper or plastic plates, cups or flatware - those prices are way up: paper plates up 15%, plastic ups 12%, plastic tablecloths 10%, those plastic knives, forks and spoons will set you back around 5% more according to Pattern. Time to wash those dishes.
Be sure to check out those supermarket ads - Super Bowl is a MAJOR food holiday and the stores don't want to lose your business so they are doing everything they can to get you to buy your Super Bowl foods from them. Target just announced on Wednesday over 40 snacks, appetizers and drinks including salsa, guacamole, and chicken dips) for Super Bowl that are all under $5. Other supermarkets will probably follow with adding Super Bowl specials on their own store brands (remember that store brands come with a 100% money back guarantee - so no fear in trying them.). Check out the store’s websites and apps - remember that since the pandemic there have been shortages on shelves so they have not been able to plan out those newspaper ads and circulars the way they used to - but they can do digital offers quickly based on what's in sot so check those often and use your frequent shopper card. And don't forget to shop around - Dollar Stores, Grocery Outlets even Drug Chains all have great everyday deals where you can save big bucks on everything from chicken wings to fresh veggies.
Here’s the bottom line: enjoy the game, enjoy Rihanna’s half-time show and most of all shop smart - you and your friends and family will be able to enjoy the foods without worrying about what it costs.