Feb 9, 2024 - Business

Chicken wings cost less this Super Bowl Sunday

Illustration of buffalo wings, celery, and carrots forming the shape of a dollar sign

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chicken wings, the ultimate Super Bowl food, cost less than they did last year, offering consumers welcome relief.

Why it matters: Cooling inflation has leveled the playing field this year for some game-day staples, data shared with Axios shows.

What's happening: Americans are expected to eat 1.45 billion wings during the game, the same amount as 2023, according to the National Chicken Council.

  • A Wells Fargo analysis citing Circana data found fresh chicken wings were down around 5% and frozen wings down 11% compared to January 2023.
  • The average advertised price for whole wings was $2.65 a pound, according to a Feb. 2 Department of Agriculture report, compared to $2.82 a pound in 2023.

The big picture: Even with lower wing prices, overall Super Bowl spending is expected to reach a new record, according to the National Retail Federation.

  • Consumers are expected to spend $17.3 billion on food, drinks, clothes and other purchases, beating the 2020 record of $17.2 billion, NRF data shows.
  • The NRF estimates Super Bowl spending per household at $86.04, the highest amount in four years but still less than the record set in 2020 of $88.65 per household.

State of play: An analysis by research firm Datasembly found a basket of 14 items — including soda, chips, wings, beer, dip and ice cream — cost $86.99 in early February, 4% more than the same items did last year.

  • Chips and dips had the largest increases with tortilla chips up 38.3% and a 15-ounce medium queso up 18.8%, Datasembly found.
  • Datasembly said this year's 4% increase "pales in comparison to the 13.8% increase we saw in last year's basket, but is reflective of the overall cooling we are seeing in grocery inflation."

Most popular Super Bowl food

Zoom in: Food is the MVP at most Super Bowl parties, particularly snacks, recent surveys show.

  • Tortilla chips, cola, salsa, pretzels, guacamole and wings are among the top 20 categories that peaked the week before the Super Bowl last year, according to Instacart sales data.
  • An Instacart survey of 2,078 people found snacks are among the favorite parts of the game for 50%.

What they're saying: "This is prime time for snacks and beverages. It's like holiday season," said Brett O'Brien, a marketing exec at PepsiCo — the maker of Tostitos, Doritos and Lay's chips.

  • Incorporating snack items like chips and dips into meals is a rising trend the company is watching, O'Brien said, noting it's up 35% over previous years.

Of note: Snacks, beer and soda take the stage in Super Bowl commercials, which cost $7 million for 30-second ads.

  • PepsiCo is featuring its new Starry soda, Doritos Dinamita and MTN DEW Baja Blast while Coca-Cola promotes its BODYARMOR Sports Drink.

Editor's note: This story was updated to include information about Super Bowl commercials.

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