The Snacktime Report: The Top Scoring Game-Day Snacks
Football’s biggest night with Kansas City and Tampa Bay going head-to-head is just around the corner in less than two weeks! As a Canadian who followed rugby more closely than football growing up, I only started watching the Big Game when I moved to the Bay Area, but truthfully, my favorite part of the whole event is creating a fun snack spread and having appetizers for dinner.
In this pandemic year marked by social distancing and smaller gatherings, we’ve already observed smaller game-day snack spreads — snack purchases were down 23% in the weeks leading up to season kickoff in September. While we still expect to see smaller snack spreads on game day this year, that doesn’t mean they won’t be tasty!
To help you plan your game day watch party, I rounded up the most popular chips, dips, and small bites from last year’s championship to help inform what should be included in your watch party snack spread this February 7. After digging into the data, my biggest takeaway is that although popular snacks like wings, popcorn, and tater tots are still high on consumers’ game-day grocery lists, we’re also seeing a stronger desire for incorporating big, bold flavors — like vinegar and dill pickle — into the mix. I also noticed people are adding outside-the-box healthy options like banana chips and less traditional comfort foods such as potstickers to the table spread.
What’s more, using grocery order data we’ve identified the best times to place your order to ensure you get everything you need. Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know to plan your Big Game watch party snack spread. Go teams!
Best time to order game-day supplies
Even though there may be less of a grocery store rush given fewer and smaller game day gatherings this year, I still expect that popular staples will be in demand as people settle in for scaled-down versions of an afternoon watch party. To ensure you get everything on your watch-party list with time to spare, the best time to order your grocery items and alcohol is early in the morning or first thing when your grocery store opens.
In terms of day of the week, Sundays tend to be the most popular grocery shopping day and by the evening, inventory on popular items can be low. To boost your odds of finding all the desired items on your watch party shopping list, I recommend shopping on Tuesday or Wednesday morning before Sunday’s Big Game. Here’s my favorite #ProTip: if you can, create and schedule your order the night before you’d like it to be delivered so you can select the earliest delivery slot for the next morning.
What’s a wing without the sauce?
For many, chicken wings go hand-in-hand with football. With so many flavor options and sauces to choose from, I wanted to know if the classic buffalo sauce still holds up against its competition. I looked at popular wing sauce and dip searches in the lead-up to last year’s game, and here’s how they stack up, in order of popularity:
- Buffalo sauce (+133%)
- Chipotle sauce (+50%)
- Blue cheese dressing (+47%)
- BBQ sauce (+32%)
- Ranch dressing (+22%)
Chip chip hooray!
It’s nearly impossible to have a game-day snack spread without chips — they’re some of the top sellers in the snack aisle — so we looked into the top-trending varieties people are scooping up left and right and here’s how they rank:
- Vinegar potato chips
- BBQ potato chips
- Dill pickle potato chips
- Cool Ranch tortilla chips
- Nacho Cheese tortilla chips
In Canada, I grew up with unique chip flavors like all-dressed, ketchup, and dill pickle being the norm, so it’s fun seeing less traditional chip varieties, like dill pickle, starting to trend in the states. In my opinion, incorporating a fun chip flavor into the snack bowl is a good way to add some novelty and mixup the chip & dip flavor profile.
Small-bite snackers to watch out for
Sure, classic chips take all the glory, but flavored-popcorn, fruit chips, and other small-bite snacks are rising stars when it comes to satisfying those salty and savory cravings. Here are America’s favorites for game-day snacking:
- Kettle corn popcorn
- White cheddar popcorn
- Bagel chips
- Cheddar cheese popcorn
- Banana chips
When I dip, you dip, we dip
What are folks dipping their chips in during the Big Game? Among Instacart customers, spinach dip comes out on top in terms of trending sales for game day spreads followed by some healthier — but still tasty — runner-ups:
- Spinach dip (+35%)
- Hummus (+32%)
- Guacamole (+31%)
- Salsa (+28%)
- Tzatziki (+27%)
Dipping into this further, according to our insights…
- Texans love their spinach dip. San Antonio purchases the most spinach dip in the U.S., with Houston coming in third on the charts.
- Tampa likes tzatziki! The Florida Gulf Coast city purchases the most tzatziki for the Big Game.
- Folks from Los Angeles purchase the most hummus and guacamole for the Big Game compared to any other city in the country.
- Californians like to spice up their game-day snack spread with a side of salsa, with Sacramento and Los Angeles coming in at number one and two in the country for their total salsa purchases.
Finger foods for the win
Looking for something you can easily pop in the oven for game day? These top five finger foods will have you licking your fingers for more!
These cities are in the mood for finger foods:
- Sacramento loves their frozen finger foods! The capital of California purchases more potstickers, tater tots, and corn dogs than any other city in the U.S. for the Big Game.
- Mozzarella sticks are flying off the shelves in Orlando and Baltimore — taking the number one and two spots for the cities with the most purchases for the app loaded with breaded cheesy goodness.
- If you’re from SoCal, you might have a hankering for sweet potato fries. LA tops the list for purchasing the most sweet potato fries and San Diego follows close behind with the third most purchases out of any city in the U.S.
Kansas City vs. Tampa Bay: How the snacking stacks up
Kansas City: Throughout the regular season, KC fans have been snacking on tortilla chips and salsa with a side of chicken nuggets while cheering on their home team. In the name of superstition, we expect devoted fans to continue creating similar snack spreads for their Big Game watch parties.
Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay fans have been snacking on tortilla chips, salsa, mashed potatoes, and tater tots and washing it all down with hard seltzer variety packs this football season. Will this game-winning snacking combo take Tampa Bay all the way?
Game-day grocery savings
Now that we’ve covered all the top finger foods, dips, chips, and small bites you should be adding to your Big Game menus, here are some of the top deals from Instacart you can start shopping now in preparation for February 7. Simply select a store in your area, click on the “savings” icon and choose between the “sales” tab or the “stock up & save” tab to save on the following food items.
🏈 Big Game Deals From Instacart 🏈
- Kraft and Instacart are offering the following deal: “Spend $25 on select Kraft products including Big Game favorites like Kraft cheeses, lunch meats, frozen sides and appetizers, and save $5 or unlock free delivery.” Offer valid until February 7.
- Dreyer’s and Instacart are offering the following deal: “Spend $20 on select Dreyer’s ice cream products and save $5 or unlock free delivery.” Offer valid until February 28.
- Utz and Instacart are offering the following deal: “Mix and match 2 select Utz chips, and save $1.50.” Offer valid until March 31.
- Pepsi and Instacart are offering the following deal: “Spend $28 on your favorite Pepsi, Doritos, Lay’s, and Tostitos brands and save $5 or unlock free delivery.” Offer valid until February 7.
- Pepsi and Instacart are offering the following deal: “Buy 2 Smartfood popcorn products and save $1.00.” Offer valid until February 13.
Happy home watch parties, everyone!
Methodology: Instacart analyzed anonymized, aggregated sales and search activity across our marketplace from January 1 — February 1, 2020 to understand what products were trending during Super Bowl LIV.
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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