Instacart’s Snacktime Report: The Big Game Cravings
The Big Game is this Sunday, uniting fans not just in the thrill of football, but in the universal joy of game day eats. According to a recent Instacart survey conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 2,000 U.S. adults, 70% of Americans plan to watch the Big Game this year and of those planning to watch, 50% say the snacks are among their favorite parts of the Big Game. Since food plays a major role in the fun, we analyzed Instacart’s vast purchase data across 1,400 retail banners to reveal America’s top-scoring game day snacks. Let’s kick it off…
The Big Game Snack Spread
So what grub will grace coffee tables this Sunday? We’re revealing the top 20 foods that peaked during the week of the Big Game, confirming the dominance of these fan favorites: chips and dips, wings, and a lineup of finger foods like pretzels, mozzarella sticks, and pistachios are go-to’s for at-home viewers of America’s premier sporting event:
A Closer Look at the Snack Champion: Tortilla Chips
Tortilla chips not only clinch the title of the #1 snack for the Big Game based on Instacart’s purchase data — they have their biggest order surge of the year on Instacart’s platform during the week of the Big Game, making them the snackable staple for game day viewers:
The versatility of tortilla chips cements them as a universal fan favorite and the perfect companion for an array of dips ranging from classic salsa and guacamole to creamy queso and indulgent spinach artichoke dip. Reflecting this popularity, our survey with The Harris Poll also found that 60% of Americans who plan to watch the Big Game believe tortilla chips and dips are among the best snacks and dishes to enjoy while watching. Not to mention, 44% prefer a variety of 3-4 dip options at their watch party — so we know tortilla chips signal a full spread. So what are people dipping their tortilla chips in?
When looking at the top growing dips in each state based on Instacart purchase data during the week of the Big Game, guacamole rose to the top in 21 states while cheese dips and salsa secured the top spot in 16 and 12 states respectively. Notably, in Iowa, spinach artichoke dip takes the crown, highlighting a regional favorite amid national trends:
With all the chips and dips that will show up in carts soon, we can’t end the tortilla chip conversation without knowing which tortilla chip shape reigns supreme for the Big Game. Our survey with The Harris Poll shows a majority ruling: 58% of Americans who plan to watch the Big Game prefer scoop-shaped chips for their superior dipping prowess:
Buffalo Sauce’s Moment of Truth
Buffalo sauce is more than just a condiment; it’s a game day tradition, bringing that quintessential kick to wings, dips, and snacks that are as much a part of the game day experience as the action on the screen. The fiery sauce experiences its largest spike in sales of the year on Instacart’s platform during the week leading up to the Big Game, underscoring its role as a staple flavor at watch parties across the country:
Going a step further — because we know people aren’t consuming buffalo sauce on its own (or so we think) — we examined the top 10 items purchased along with buffalo sauce:
“It seems that fans are gearing up to whip up a delectable spread of buffalo and BBQ wings, complemented by classic dressings like ranch and blue cheese,” said Laurentia Romaniuk, Instacart’s Trends Expert. “Additionally, they’re filling their carts with key components for a crowd-pleasing buffalo chicken dip — featuring cream cheese and canned chicken, a concoction that’s surged in favor over the last few years. Together, buffalo sauce and all the items purchased with it will surely offer a flavorful and hearty game-day lineup.”
Here are additional buffalo and wing-related insights from our survey with The Harris Poll:
- Bone in or out? Among those who eat buffalo wings, more than half (52%) would prefer boneless wings during The Big Game, while 48% prefer bone-in. However, of those who eat buffalo wings, 53% do not believe ‘boneless’ wings are actually wings. This culinary coin toss shows that whether for convenience or tradition, wing preference is nearly evenly split, but the debate over what constitutes a real wing is alive and sizzling…
- Some like it (kind of) hot. Among those who eat buffalo wings, medium is the most preferred heat level for buffalo wings (41%), followed by spicy hot (26%).
Wash it Down
Clearly, a savory spread demands a suitable beverage companion. Our survey with The Harris Poll reveals that for those aged 21+ who drink alcohol during the Big Game, beer is overwhelmingly the beverage of choice, with 68% citing it among their favored alcoholic options to pair with the game day fare. So naturally, we peered into our purchase data to uncover the top 10 alcoholic beverages for the Big Game — reaffirming beer’s sweeping popularity as it clinches 9 of the 10 spots:
Whether you’re rooting for a team, tuning in for the halftime spectacle, laughing at the commercials, or reveling in all of the above, we’re raising a glass to you and the scrumptious eats that make the Big Game day complete. 🍺🏈
To shop your favorite game day eats, simply visit the Game Day Snacks Hub within the Instacart app.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Instacart from January 23-25, 2024, among 2,078 adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,412 plan to watch The Big Game this year. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact [email protected].
Adjusting for Growth:
We adjust Instacart growth percentages by the overall growth of total deliveries. Doing so removes the influence of our platform growth so we can focus on the change in consumer behavior.
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