Diets Out of Bounds for Football Snacking

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Diets Out of Bounds for Football Snacking


The time for resolving to eat healthy is over for the majority of football fans, who happily cross their dietary goal lines to guilt-free snacking while watching the NFL playoff and Super Bowl games – and most are buying all their celebratory food at traditional supermarkets, according to the 2011 Supervalu Snack Down Survey by Harris Interactive.

Consistent with last year’s inaugural survey, the majority of respondents said they “never’” feel guilty about what they eat while watching the games. But this year, a significantly higher percentage of men (60 percent) than women (46 percent) indicated no guilt about fumbling their health goals. In fact, the majority said they will choose snacks they don’t consider healthy, apparently viewing the game as an excuse to tackle their favorite foods.

Top picks for this year’s game were dips and spreads, up from last year to 30 percent; chicken wings at 22 percent; and pizza at 17 percent. However, compared to last year’s No. 1 favorite, chips and salty snacks such as peanuts, popcorn or pretzels fell from the first place snack choice to fourth place at 14 percent. Ever popular-burgers, dogs and brats came in at 9 percent.

“It’s clear from the survey that fans are betting on finding convenient and affordable foods to serve at their playoff and Super Bowl parties,” said Julie Dexter Berg, Supervalu’s chief marketing officer. “We recognize that shoppers will be looking for some simple ideas to round out their game-day party menus.”

More than 80 percent plan on watching the Super Bowl in their own home, the survey found. Among those who plan on hosting a Super Bowl party, the majority of hosts plan on doing all of the preparation themselves. The amount fans plan to spend on foods and snacks is down compared to last year: half of those hosting a party plan to spend $50 or less, versus $100 or less in 2010.

Local supermarkets continued to be the most common place fans plan to shop for Super Bowl party food and snacks (80 percent). This is followed by discount stores, mass merchants or warehouse clubs (42 percent); restaurants, caterers, gourmet food stores or delicatessens (9 percent); and convenience stores (5 percent).

While simple, easy-to-purchase snack choices were the hands-down fan favorites, some of the more unusual party foods cited by fans were snacks of their own creation, ranging from cricket appetizers, fried rattlesnake and octopus on crackers to venison nachos and fried Twinkies.

The survey also looked at regional snacking favorites:

- Chicago: Sausage, wings, pizza, salty snacks
- Philadelphia: Philly cheesesteaks
- Boise, Idaho: Dips and spreads with chips, crackers or veggies; wings; pizza
- Las Vegas: Seafood, sushi
- Norfolk, Va.: Chicken wings
- Orange County/Los Angeles: Pizza, dips and spreads, healthy options
- St. Louis: Chicken wings, sausage, desserts
- San Diego: Pizza, chicken wings, salty snacks, seafood

Supervalu, whose family of grocery stores includes Acme Markets, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh Supermarkets, Hornbacher’s, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s/Star Market, Shop ‘n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, created the survey to determine football fans’ game-day snacking habits, and their plans for the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl this year.

Minneapolis-based Supervalu Inc. operates 4,270 stores, including 1,140 traditional retail stores, including 816 in-store pharmacies; 1,240 hard-discount stores, of which 890 are operated by licensee owners; and 1,890 independent stores serviced primarily by the company’s traditional food distribution business.