How Grocers and Brands Are Lining Up for Super Bowl Gains

Consumers expected to shell out $17.4B on foods, drinks and supplies for Feb. 11 big game
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
a woman smiling for the camera
AFM tech
Avocados from Mexico is launching its GuaAImole tool just in time for the Big Game on Feb. 11.

The 2024 Super Bowl is approaching, and it promises to live up to superlatives. From the possible appearance of megastar Taylor Swift supporting Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce to the glitzy location in Las Vegas to performances by Usher, Post Malone, Andra Day and Reba McIntire, the Feb. 11 game is an event garnering a lot of attention this year and is expected to draw an audience of 200 million or more. 

As fans gear up for the Big Game, grocers and CPGs are executing their game plans to boost sales. A question on many marketers’ minds following years marked by the pandemic and high inflation is, "Will consumers spend?" 

[Read more: “How ALDI Plans to Win the Super Bowl”]

The National Retail Federation sees a possible spike, no pun intended. The latest data from NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics’ 2024 Super Bowl survey found that 112.2 million people plan to throw or attend a party and another 16.2 million expect to watch the game at a bar or restaurant this year. 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.

Inflation, while steadily easing, isn’t quite relegated to the bench. New data from e-commerce accelerator Pattern shows that while the average inflation rate is around 3.4%, prices for some game day snacks are still elevated. Mayonnaise, for example, is up 36% from last year, while tortilla chips are up 27% and jalapeno poppers are up 19%.

According to fresh insights from Walmart Luminate, a product suite within Walmart Data Ventures, 90% of Walmart shoppers anticipate rising costs and the current inflation situation to impact their Big Game shopping in some way. That data affirms that most people will be stocking up to see the Kansas City Chiefs-San Francisco 49ers matchup, with 64% planning to watch at home and 20% saying they will watch at someone else's home.

Despite lingering inflation, grocers can take advantage of opportunities as the grip of high prices loosens. Andy Keenan, EVP and general manager at sales and marketing services provider Advantage Solutions, noted that as nonalcoholic beverages are gaining in popularity, grocers can promote those products to party hosts and guests. “Expect to see such drinks offered at many Super Bowl gatherings, as well as featured in spots among the event’s famous commercial lineup,” he said.

Kroger Big Game
Kroger is steering shoppers to dips, snacks and meal solutions as the prep for Super Bowl gatherings.

Additionally, Keenan reported, consumers are seeking out private label products as they entertain and eat before and during the game. “Savvy shoppers are looking to private brands to stock their parties – in fact, 92% of consumers trust private brands just as much or more than national brands. Snacks and appetizers are two of the most important components to a successful Super Bowl party, making them optimal categories for retailers to take advantage of and spotlight their private brands in,” he remarked.

Playing to Win

Grocers and brands are rolling out a variety of promotions and products ahead of kickoff.  Examples include the following:

  • The Kroger Co. is going long on dips, touting fan favorites including several of its Private Selection, Simple Truth and Kroger-branded items. "Dips are more than a game day staple this year, they are the real MVP," said Juan De Paoli, VP of Our Brands at Kroger. "From cheesy to plant-based options, we're covering the spread for the Big Game.” The retailer is also highlighting its new hand-dipped fried chicken, Home Chef pizzas, cheese trays and veggie and fruit trays, among other offerings. 
  • The Jif brand from The J.M. Smucker Co. is launching a “Save the Celery” campaign to rescue celery discarded from chicken wing orders by pairing it with peanut butter. "Every host of a Big Game party knows the sad fate that awaits their celery," said Christine Hoffman, senior director of integrated consumer experience. "But the simple addition of Jif Peanut Butter transforms celery from castaway to an irresistibly crunchy snack." Jif is also teaming up with e-commerce provider Gopuff on a standalone website, www.savethecelery.com, offering consumers a free jar of Jif for delivery on Feb. 11. 
  • Avocados from Mexico is testing an AI-powered guacamole-making tool called GuacAImole, enabling fans to create a tailored recipe based on ingredients they have on hand. The tool uses multi-modal AI to turn photos or text into recipes and helps people plan their game day menus and shopping lists. In a recent video demonstration of the technology shared with Progressive Grocer, director of corporate communications and PR Ana Ambrosi said that the tech was designed to help users get inspiration and instructions. “We are using it for the Big Game because it’s a big consumption occasion, but we are also looking to use and improve the technology for other experiences,” she reported. 

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M&Ms ad
M&Ms dropped the teaser for its Big Game ad, which features 3 NFL legends.

Commercials, of course, are arguably as much of a draw and a point of debate as the game itself. For its spot this year, the M&M's brand from Mars, Inc. is teaming up with  NFL Hall of Fame players Dan Marino, Terrell Owens and Bruce Smith. The brand also created a novel M&M’s Almost Champions Ring of Comfort, featuring real diamonds made in a specialized lab from M&M’s peanut butter candies.

"M&M's is all about using the power of fun to create a world where everyone feels they belong," said Gabrielle Wesley, chief marketing officer at Mars Wrigley North America. "To inspire moments of everyday happiness and entertain fans, it's only fitting that our Mars Brand gem partners with a roster of NFL Legends to debut a custom ring with diamonds made from real M&M's peanut butter, providing one-of-a-kind carats and comfort for exceptional almost champions.

Meanwhile, the Hellmann’s brand has dropped a teaser of its Super Bowl ad, which features actress and comedian Kate McKinnon, actor and comedian Pete Davidson and the brand’s “Mayo Cat.” While fun, the spot also underscores the goal of reducing food waste. 

"Hellmann's continues to challenge itself to find relatable, authentic and even humorous ways for people to think about their leftovers – and this year, by enlisting the help of Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson and Mayo Cat to help us do that in our spot for the Big Game has definitely elevated the influence of our Make Taste, Not Waste platform," explained Chris Symmes, senior marketing director, dressings, North America at parent company Unilever. "Showing people that with a little 'may-ow', we all can play a big role in doing something meaningful, and delicious, with our leftovers that will help reduce our food waste impact."

Finally, when it comes to swaying shoppers, recent research affirms the effectiveness of signage, sampling and other efforts at the store level. According to a new survey from Vibenomics, a Mood Media company, in-store promotions are most likely to influence shoppers to purchase a specific brand or product for the Big Game, coming in with 67% of the vote. 

Hellmann’s Super Bowl Teaser 

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