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Nearly 90 percent of American football fans say they “never” or only “sometimes” feel guilty about what they eat when watching football games, yet 81 percent admit to eating “none” or just “a few” healthy or better-for-you foods during a game, according to the Supervalu inaugural Snack Down Survey conducted by Princeton, N.J.-based Opinion Research Corp.
Supervalu created the survey on behalf of its national family of grocery stores, which include Acme, Albertsons, bigg’s, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s/Star Market, Shop ’n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, to determine football fans’ game-day snacking habits, and their plans for the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl this year.
The survey showed that chips or other salty snacks, such as peanuts, popcorn and pretzels, are hands down the favorite game-day snacking items among American football fans.
While 89 percent of fans surveyed plan to watch one or more of the NFL playoff games or the Super Bowl in the comfort of their own homes this year, the recession hasn’t changed Americans’ habits with respect to how much money they intend to spend on football game parties. About 78 percent of gridiron fans plan to spend about the same amount as previous years, with 12 percent saying they’ll spend more.
“It’s clear from the survey that casual, portable foods are the name of the game for American football fans,” said Ed Dobbles, VP of research and analytics at Minneapolis-based Supervalu. “With many Americans planning to enjoy the NFL playoff games and Super Bowl at home this year, we recognize that shoppers will be looking for some simple ideas to round out their game-day party menus.”
Supermarkets topped the list of preferred locations where Americans (87 percent) go to buy their snacks, foods and ingredients for football game parties. This was followed by discount stores, mass merchants or warehouse clubs (54 percent); restaurants, caterers, gourmet food stores or delicatessens (12 percent); and convenience stores (12 percent).
Among regional trends in Baltimore/Washington, D.C.; Boise, Idaho; Boston; Chicago; Cincinnati; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.; Orange County/Los Angeles; Philadelphia; St. Louis; and San Diego, the survey found nearly 40 percent of fans associating a special food or snack tradition preference with their favorite NFL or college football team, some of which, not surprisingly, include the following:
—In Philadelphia, football fans named Philly cheese steaks as their top game-day snack tradition
—Chicago gridiron fans cited Chicago-style hot dogs and Chicago deep-dish pizza among their special traditions
—In Boston, New England clam chowder and Boston baked beans made area fans’ list of snack traditions
—Cincinnati fans’ quintessential game-day snack food is Skyline or Cincinnati-style chili
—In Baltimore and Washington, D.C. , chicken wings tied with chips or other salty snacks as the No. 1 game-day snack. Baltimore fans also unsurprisingly listed crab among their special snack traditions
—In Boise, Idaho potatoes — baked and loaded — naturally made fans’ lineup of special football game-day snack traditions
—In Boston, about 38 percent of male football fans plan to watch one or more of the NFL playoff games or the Super Bowl at a bar or restaurant this year, vs. only 14 percent of Beantown women. Male gridiron fans in Boston believe they consume more calories at a Super Bowl party (24 percent) than at a Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa celebration (17 percent).
Among other notable regional trends:
—In Chicago, pizza and chicken wings beat out chips or other salty snacks as favorite game-day foods. One of the more creative “unusual” items consumed by a Chicago football fan were hard-boiled eggs dyed brown to look like little footballs, and then painted with white icing to make the laces. Another Chicago fan has a tradition of serving a dish related to the opposing team (e.g., Ben Roethlis “burgers” Favre’s Jambalaya).
—In Cincinnati, football game parties are a time when some local fans enjoy a little “Hanky Panky” — a sandwich featuring a mixture of sausage, cheese and a touch of Worchestershire sauce, and served on rye toast.
—In the Twin Cities, football fans list cheese, cheese dips, cheese logs and cheese balls as traditional staples of their game-day viewing parties.
—In Orange County/Los Angeles, football fans spend the most money on their football game parties, with nearly 20 percent estimating they spend between $101 and $500, and 52 percent saying they spend between $50 and $100. Orange County and Los Angeles gridiron fans also are more likely than fans in other markets across the country to enjoy the NFL playoffs or the Super Bowl at a bar or restaurant this year.
—In Philadelphia, chicken wings, and dips and spreads for use with chips, crackers or veggies were tied as fans’ favorite game-day snacks.