Super Bowl LIII is one of the most highly anticipated days this winter for football and food fans alike. As Super Bowl Sunday approaches, Frito-Lay North America has announced its inaugural US Snack Index, which is a survey of which snacks consumers plan to enjoy during this year’s game.
“The Super Bowl is synonymous with enjoying snacks with friends and family,” said Steven Williams, Senior Vice President of sales, chief commercial officer, Frito-Lay North America. “As a leader in snacking, Frito-Lay keeps its finger on the pulse of snacking, always looking at what consumers prefer. It’s interesting to see how different regions and age groups snack – whether it’s potato chips or tortilla chips, classic or spicy – everyone definitely approaches snacking in their own way.”
PepsiCo, Frito-Lay’s parent company, is the sponsor for this year’s half time show, so it’s not surprising that the snack-producer is looking into viewers’ eating habits. Last year, the championship drew more than 103 million viewers to their screens to watch, socialize and snack.
The poll breaks snack preferences down by city, offering companies greater insight into which snacks are preferred by region. The company reported that Chicago’s top pick was popcorn, while L.A. had the highest percentage of potato chip lovers and Boston chose tortilla chips as their top pick. Cities like Dallas, Miami, New York City, Seattle and Washington, D.C. also chose potato chips. Houston and the home of this year’s Super Bowl, Atlanta, sided with Boston in selecting tortilla chips.
Potato and tortilla chips turned out to be a popular choice right across the country, with nine in 10 viewers planning to have a snack during the game and 80 percent saying that snack would be potato or tortilla chips.
As for the top flavor picks, spicy and cheesy flavors are a favorite with Generation Z and millennials, while all groups polled agreed that salsa is the number one dip to accompany game-day chips.
“Super Bowl Sunday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year for snacks,” added Williams. “It’s different than other holidays we see throughout the year, as consumers are most likely to be enjoying snacks specifically at home, which can mean their choices can vary from other occasions.”
The championship has long been an opportunity to celebrate and socialize with a Super Bowl-themed party, but social media has added to the sharing dynamic of the event. More than half of respondents polled said they planned to shared photos of their food online.
“At Frito-Lay, we are hyper-focused in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl to make sure consumers can get the variety of snacks they want for game day,” concluded Williams. “What better time to launch our first US Snack Index and get insights into their snack plans for this major snacking event?”
Other surveys examined just how much food consumers are buying in preparation for the game, with a dramatic spike reported in snack purchases the week leading up to the Super Bowl.
SNAC International, the international trade association for the snack industry, reported that dips benefit the most from the Pre-Game bonus, jumping 36 percent compared to the previous week, with $38 million in sales. A natural compliment to dip, tortilla chips posted a 35 percent increase, with over $107 million in sales. Potato chips remain king in terms of overall sales of $119 million, enjoying a 16 percent increase from the week prior.
In total, shoppers bought over $387 million worth of savory snacks in 2018, an increase of 4.6 percent from the previous year.
The Super Bowl remains one of Americans’ top snacking holidays, as a result, the game presents a great opportunity for snack marketers to keep track of trends as shoppers sprint to the snack aisle.