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Super Bowl Showcases Changing of the Guard for NFL (and Food Industry)

While Sunday’s Super Bowl will be the perfect platform to highlight the changing of the guard between superstar NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, the food industry will also have some significant changes on display, albeit not as high-profile as perhaps the best quarterback matchup in Super Bowl history.

Changes to In-Game Advertising

While not a changing of the guard, per se, some of the biggest, most established food and beverage brands have opted not to air Super Bowl advertisements this year, while companies like DoorDash, Chipotle and Hellmann’s will be advertising during the game for the first time.

Avocados from Mexico will forgo advertising during the game for the first time in six years. Coca-Cola isn’t running ads to “ensure we are investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times.” Budweiser is sitting out too and will instead donate the money it would have spent on ads to coronavirus vaccination awareness efforts. (Parent Anheuser-Busch still has four minutes of advertising during the game for its other brands.)

More Snacking and Smaller Gatherings

While retail sales data shows that Super Bowl Sunday is always one of the biggest snacking days of the year, this year will be different. In fact, Frito-Lay estimates a 21 percent increase in snacking compared with other Super Bowls on the combination of an uptick in snacking since the onset of the pandemic and more consumers planning to watch from home.

Restaurants and Other Establishments Adjust

With pandemic-related restrictions nationwide, many restaurants, bars and other establishments have bolstered delivery and pickup options, and updated their websites, social media efforts and email marketing campaigns.

Others may be operating as game-day ghost kitchens to support restaurant meal delivery options. Global delivery sales more than doubled between 2014 and 2019, according to Euromonitor, and a Super Bowl Sunday like none other will likely boost sales even higher amid strong conditions for ordering takeout and delivery.

According to Frito-Lay insights, nearly half (45 percent) of Americans expect to make changes to Super Bowl plans with the majority (56 percent) planning to stay home and watch the game alone or with people who live in their immediate household. Viewing parties will also be smaller – among those planning to host a Super Bowl party, nearly nine out of 10 say their Super Bowl gathering will have 10 people or less and 65 percent plan to gather with less than four people.

DoorDash Survey on Game Day Eats

A recent DoorDash survey also sheds some light on what type of foods people are likely to be ordering for the game. The company’s Super Bowl 2021 Game Day Eats Trend Report leveraged order data on NFL Sundays from September 13, 2020 to January 10, 2021 and a survey of 1,000 Americans. According to DoorDash, mozzarella sticks are the top game day food with boneless wings, chips and salsa, Caesar salad and pepperoni pizza rounding out the top five.