Why Super Bowl Party Foods Will Be Different In 2024

February 07, 2024

Why Super Bowl Party Foods Will Be Different In 2024

National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that Americans will spend $17.3 billion on food, drinks, apparel, party decorations and other categories on Super Bowl LVIII, about a billion dollars more than for last year’s big game.

Originally published on Forbes.com

We are days away from the 2024 Super Bowl, where the San Francisco 49ers face off agains the Kansas City Chiefs, the time-honored tradition of home parties filled with abundant food and drinks this year's festivities come with a twist. Consumers, brands and supermarket retailers must navigate the complex landscape shaped by fluctuating food prices and inflation.

Strolling through a variety of supermarkets over the past ten days in Southern California one difference became abundantly clear - there are a lot less signs and displays promoting foods and beverages for the big game. But that doesn’t indicate that we will party less, just differently. In fact, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that Americans will spend $17.3 billion on food, drinks, apparel, party decorations and other categories on Super Bowl LVIII, about a billion dollars more than for last year’s big game.

Shoppers Are Cost-Conscious This Year

As food inflation continues to make headlines and impact household budgets, shoppers are becoming increasingly cost-conscious. According to analytics firm 84.51, 43%’s purchases are heavily influenced by deals they find in their supermarket. Wells FargoWFC +0.4% analysts expect Super Bowl food spending to be strong as food inflation, according to the Federal Reserve Economic Data’s January release shows a modest rise for food consumed at home at just 1.3% over 2023 and food away from home rising as 5.3% over last year. Wells Fargo reports that in January 2024 fresh and frozen chicken wings are averaging $3.26 and $3.17 respectively per pound making it a great option, with fresh chicken wings down 5% and frozen wings down 11% - and would prove to be one of this year’s Super Bowl super food winners if the Taylor Swift “Wings & Crunch” phenomenon continues at the game and on social media. According to the National Chicken Council Americans are expected to consume 1.45 billion chicken wings during the Super Bowl weekend celebration, with or without Taylor Swift’s endorsement.

Beef this year will cost more due to record low cattle herds which forced up record high retail prices. Sirloin steak retail prices for the four-week average in January was up just 2.3% to $9.35 a pound but the price of ground beef rose over the same period as high as $4.25 up nearly 12% over last year according to Wells Fargo. Fresh shrimp showed a decrease of 6.4% to an average of $8.84 per pound, but check out the frozen food case for a better deal, where prices could be as much as 30% or more lower. Most shrimp sold in the U.S. has been previously frozen anyway, so just taking the time to thaw them, or BBQ them is worth the price savings.

One of the most expensive Super Bowl favorites is soft drinks, as a category, for 12 ounce cans, prices are up a whopping 57% and 2 liter bottles are up 33% since the beginning of COVID in 2020. A best bet is to make your own soft drinks like lemonade or offer your guests the heaviest option of water from a Britta or other type of filtered pitcher.

Datasembly, who collects hyper-local, real-time data from 200+ retailers (including TargetTGT +1.6%, WalmartWMT -0.3%, KrogerKR -0.8%) and represents more than 150,000 stores reports that of the 14 most favorite Super Bowl foods there is a nationwide price increase of just 4.02% over last year - but let’s not forget that the 2023 prices for the same basket of foods were 13.7% more than in 2022.

Affordability And Equally Satisfying

This year we are seeing even more factors at play that will change the party planning and will force it to become more creative than just a bunch of guys sitting around a wide screen scarfing down chips, dips, subs and sandwich platters and beer. Instead of table-long spreads of meats, cheeses and snacks there's a noticeable shift towards more affordable, yet equally satisfying alternatives. Think gourmet-style sliders using less expensive cuts (and smaller portions) of meat, or inventive vegetarian dishes that offer both flavor and substance without breaking the bank.

And talking about the ‘guys” since Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s relationship has become public and she has been seen at his games, the NFL attained its highest regular-season female viewership since it started collecting data in 2000. Nielsen reports that females currently represent 46% of the Super Bowl audience. According to the NFL, viewership experienced a 53% spike among teenage girls, a 24% increase among women 18-24 and a 34% rise among women aged 35 and above, so in 2024, Nielsen’s numbers might be conservative at best. Expect this year’s Super Bowl parties to attract more females and it will be important to include their favorite foods including calcium rich foods like cheeses and yogurts, iron-rich foods including nuts and seeds, dried fruit, whole wheat breads. beans, lentils and chickpeas, dark leafy green vegetables, soy-based foods like tofu and don’t forget the fruit! Women over the age of 18 also rank pizza as one of their favorite foods, but think about pizzas with veggies and whole wheat or cauliflower crust.

Most Popular Foods

According to the retail analytics firm 84.51’s January Consumer Digest, 66% of Americans are planning to celebrate Super Bowl this year, and here’s their most popular foods:

  • 73% are serving chips & dips
  • 52% are serving pizza
  • 45% are serving alcoholic beverages
  • 37% are serving fruits and vegetables
  • 37% are serving premade appetizers

Health and wellness continue to be significant trends, even in the context of Super Bowl celebrations. Party givers must now seek a balance between indulgent comfort foods and healthier options, reflecting the broader consumer desire for well-being that include catering to various dietary preferences and restrictions, such as gluten-free, keto, vegan and accommodating those whose diets have changed significantly with the rise of the new weight loss drugs and smaller portions.

Trillian Health’s 2023 Trends: Shaping the Health Economy Report shows that national spending for GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic(R) and Wegovy(R) totaled $10.7B in 2021 and prescription volume has increased 300% as of Q4 2022; accounting for 9 million scripts, and according to The New England Consulting Group the GLP-1 market will expand to 36 million users by 2030. So while they may be just a fraction of game watchers this year, expect to see significant changes in game day menus moving forward. Medical Marketing & Media magazine reports that there are three tentpoles for pharma advertising in 2024: live sports, daytime TV and news and that OTC brands found twice as much success advertising during NFL games, so it’s surprising to see the preliminary list of Super Bowl advertisers without a single Ozempic or Mounjaro ad.

The rising popularity of non-alcoholic beverages cannot be ignored, as more people seek healthier, inclusive alternatives. Among those 21 years and older who drink alcohol, CivicScience’s yearly tracking found that 25% said they successfully completed Dry January of those, 35% of Gen Z participated more than double the percentage of Americans 55 and older. Civic Science data also finds that 72% of that group plan on reducing their intake or cut out alcohol completely. From sophisticated mocktails to artisanal sodas, the non-alcoholic segment will certainly have a presence at this year’s Super Bowl gatherings.

Brands love the power of the Super Bowl, and TUMS is no exception as they try to cash in on our food indulgences. During Usher’s halftime performance, in partnership with GoPuff they will deliver a free 60 count bottle of TUMS Chewy Bites to your door, while supplies last of course.

Enjoy the game...and the food!