Consumers Stock Up on Big Game Essentials

Retailers are responding with Super Bowl sales, promotions and displays of products fans want most — beer, soft drinks, salty snacks and more
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
Marian Zboraj
Super Bowl Display
Consumers are on the lookout for pricing and promotions for sweet and salty snacks.

The latest consumer spending data from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics’ 2024 Super Bowl Survey found that a record 200.5 million U.S. adults plan to tune in to this year's Big Game — more than 60% of the U.S. population.

“It’s an American holiday,” said Andy Keenan, EVP at Irvine, Calif.-based Advantage Solutions, a provider of sales and marketing services to consumer goods manufacturers and retailers. “The Super Bowl is like a second Thanksgiving, where people gather in huge numbers and it’s all about food, family, friends and football.”

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That means opportunity for grocery retailers. According to the NRF Super Bowl survey, 112.2 million people plan to throw or attend a party. Total spending on food, drinks, apparel, decorations and other purchases for the day is expected to reach a record $17.3 billion, or $86.04 per person. Food and drink account for approximately 80% of that total spend. So retailers are responding with sales, promotions and massive displays of the products fans want most — soft drinks, beer, salty snacks, frozen appetizers and more. 

According to Chicago-based Numerator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, soda is the most popular beverage for Super Bowl celebrations, with beer in second place. Kansas City Chiefs fans and San Francisco 49ers fans differ on their most popular beer brands. While Chiefs fans are most likely to reach for Michelob Ultra, 49ers fans opt for Modelo as their top choice.

Numerator Beer Brands

Spirits tied with wine/champagne for third place, at 22%. Sparkling water came in at 15%; juice, 13%; hard seltzers, 10%; ready-to-drink cocktails, 9%; and THC- or CBD-infused beverages, 3%. RTD cocktails, hard seltzers and cannabis-infused drinks are more popular with younger consumers. 

Chips top the Super Bowl food shopping list, but healthier snacking options are also trending in this area — think low-fat, low-salt, low-carb, gluten-free, etc. Numerator found that three-quarters of Super Bowl watchers plan to buy chips, followed by dips/salsa/guacamole, at 67%. Homemade guac is also very popular for football's grand event  — the avocado industry reports that 20% of its annual sales take place during Super Bowl weekend.

Meanwhile, 47% of Super Bowl watchers plan to buy pizza, and 42% will purchase chicken wings. Last year, Americans consumed more than 1.45 billion chicken wings during Super Bowl LVII weekend, according to the National Chicken Council.

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Keenan mentioned that Americans are also expanding their Super Bowl Sunday spreads beyond the ubiquitous chicken wing.

“Prepared foods will continue to be huge and a likely choice for many, but people will also be more adventurous in the food they offer, because it’s fun. Recipes and fresh ideas will continue to be big, thanks to social media," he said. “That means appetizers, charcuterie boards, veggie trays, homemade guacamole — things you can present on the kitchen counter in addition to the traditional foods you might offer.”

Savvy shoppers are also looking to private brands to stock their parties, according to Jean Ryan, VP strategic advisory at Stamford, Conn.-based Daymon, an Advantage company. “With 92% of consumers trusting private brands just as much or more than national brands, and snacks and appetizers two of the most important components to a successful Super Bowl party, these are key categories where retailers can promote private brands,” said Ryan.

For the first time, Target is introducing curated game-day eats for every type of watch party, each under $25, using its store brands. Examples include a classic chicken wing basket, a nacho bar and an internet-famous cheeseburger taco board.

Amy Lang, EVP of San Diego-based Club Demonstration Services, a business unit of Advantage Solutions, also reminds grocers that sampling is critical to a retailer’s Super Bowl plan. “It’s an opportunity to remind shoppers of an upcoming event that they’ll likely be either hosting or attending — and they’ll need food items beyond their regular shopping list. In-store events create anticipation for the Super Bowl and can influence both stock-up behavior and new product trial.”

National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics’ 2024 Super Bowl Survey was conducted on 8,329 adults aged 18 and older between Jan. 2 and Jan. 8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points. Numerator’s analysis leverages verified purchase data, a sentiment survey of more than 1,000 consumers, and psychographics data to provide data on celebration, shopping and viewing plans for Super Bowl LVIII.

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