Dipping Chips in Your Easy Chair

It’s no secret that the Super Bowl is one of America’s eating holidays, but what exactly are consumers buying when they prep for that party?

MyWebGrocer examined shopper data from Super Bowl 2010 to see what foods – and brands – stores should expect to see increase in sales this year.

MyWebGrocer compared purchases from the week of the Super Bowl 2010 to the week prior, and saw a major increase in several categories. Sales of dips went up 46 percent, with Heluva Good and T. Marzetti leading category sales. Tortilla and corn chip sales went up 32 percent, while potato chips went up 15 percent. Brands leading these category sales included Tostitos and Lay’s.

Stores saw an increase in beer purchases, with general sales going up 23 percent, and an especially dramatic increase of the imported Corona brand.

Frozen snacks saw a noteworthy jump in sales at 42 percent, with T.G.I. Friday’s and Totino’s as the leading brands purchased.

And when it comes to watching the Super Bowl, there’s no place like home. The great majority of U.S. households – nine out of 10 – tell Nielsen they will be watching Super Bowl XLV at home or at a friend or relative’s house instead of watching it from a restaurant or bar. And while watching the game at home, only 5 percent of households expect to spend more than last year on food and beverages for the event, consistent with Nielsen’s findings in 2010.

“Consumers adjusted their behavior during the recession, and we see that trend playing out with the Super Bowl,” said James Russo, Nielsen VP of global consumer insights. “Still very concerned about jobs and rising gas prices, consumers remain pragmatic with their spending. They are reducing their spending on entertainment and take-out, spending less on clothes and cutting back on expenses where they can, especially in mid to lower income households. That said consumers overall are cautiously optimistic so we don’t expect to see consumers cutting back as dramatically as they did last year.”

Nielsen’s survey of more than 60,000 U.S. households shows that 85 percent of Super Bowl viewers plan to spend the same amount or less on food and beverages for the Super Bowl this year, while only 5 percent plan to spend more.

While beer and football may seem like a perfect combination, the Super Bowl is not the most popular beer holiday in the United States. Nielsen’s research shows that the Super Bowl ranks relatively low among holiday beer sales, after Labor Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

Super Bowl viewers stock their at-home parties with nearly 177 million pounds of snacks. Potato chips lead the way, with nearly 46 million pounds sold, followed by tortilla chips, popcorn and pretzels.

“At-home Super Bowl viewing is an opportunity for grocery stores, mass merchandisers and other retailers selling food and beverage items,” Russo said. “The consumer is in control, now more than ever, and how food and beverage retailers demonstrate value and innovation to capture consumer spending, for big at-home viewing events like the Super Bowl or the Oscars is critical.”

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