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Big Game Bon Appétit

Super Bowl Sunday grows a new appetite
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Sure, the Super Bowl is the “big game” for football fans and advertisers. But it’s also increasingly a bursting gastronomic event for Americans, so much so that the USDA classifies Super Bowl Sunday as the second highest day of annual food consumption after Thanksgiving.

Take pickles. The summer barbecue staple now counts the Super Bowl as one of its best sales periods. Industry leader Vlasic has just gone on air with the brand’s first new TV advertising in 18 months. “The Super Bowl has become a national holiday,” said Greg Greene, marketing director for Vlasic. Case in point: The week around Super Bowl has gone from the company’s 22nd biggest sales period in 2009 to its ninth biggest.

A majority of the respondents in a new SuperValu survey with Harris Interactive admitted their eating habits during the game aren’t exactly healthy. Nearly a third said their favorite Super Bowl snacks are dips and spreads, followed by chicken wings. Tied for third place are pizza and salty snacks.

Some of the day’s most popular dips, of course, involve avocados, making it one of the fruit’s biggest sales periods, with the Super Bowl sometimes even outselling the annual peak period at Cinco de Mayo. Beginning in late December, around the College Bowl games, avocados became food retailers’ most promoted produce item.

If communal finger food is crucial to Super Bowl snacking, so is pizza. Papa John’s, the official pizza sponsor of the NFL and the Super Bowl, has high-profile promotions this year like a free pizza offer for loyal fans who correctly guess the winner of the pregame coin toss. Pizza Hut used Facebook to crowdsource a pregame commercial on Feb. 5. Dominos, on the other hand, never advertises in or around the Super Bowl, even though it expects to sell an additional 11 million slices on the big day.

“We don’t need to advertise,” said Dominos rep Tim McIntyre. “Because of the game and the ads, no one wants to leave the TV. It’s a perfect day for a delivery business.”





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