Super Bowl parties often are just as much about the eating of tasty snacks, candy, and other treats as they are about the watching of the game. Polling my friends and colleagues, it seems interests among folks planning to watch rank as follows:
- The halftime show (Usher, in case you missed the myriad ads)
- The ads (the spot Frito-Lay teased ahead of the game is fun)
- Taylor Swift and her boyfriend
- The actual game
Considering the facts and figures from snack industry watchers, it’s no surprise that what’s on Super Bowl party tables tends to be as important and more than what’s on the TV. According to SNAC International, sales of savory snacks alone surged an eye-popping 29% during Super Bowl week last year.
To see what snacks, bakery, and candy people might be munching on during their Super Bowl parties or solo viewing, I polled members of the Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery and Candy Industry team, as well as representatives of producer companies.
Brie Buenning is all about the breads during the day as director of marketing for La Brea Bakery. However, when game day rolls around, her food-related focus broadens to include other offerings.
“When I think of the Super Bowl, I remember as a kid being excited to go to Super Bowl parties—not for the game, but for the food,” Buenning confides. “To this day, my favorite is the savory, bite-sized pigs in a blanket wrapped snugly in flaky pastry. Back then, my go-to dipping sauce was a mix of ketchup and mustard, but my palate has refined over the years and now I love to dip them in homemade cheese sauce, sweet and savory BBQ, and even a garlic aioli. The convenience of these delicious little bites makes them perfect for game day gatherings, allowing for easy munching without missing a moment of the action. Their savory and comforting flavor, combined with the simplicity of serving, elevates the overall Super Bowl snacking experience.”
Paul Stippich, director of marketing for Otis Spunkmeyer, reports he plans on going deep for a sub sandwich.
“For me, Super Bowl is about big bites in anticipation of big plays,” Stippich says. “I enjoy my homemade sub-sandwich, built on a full 2-foot loaf of your best Italian bread and layered carefully with the best thin sliced ham, salami, turkey, and garlic bologna (one of the secrets). I then top with provolone and cover with a 50%-50% blend of mayonnaise and Italian dressing. After crisping in the oven, I add chopped lettuce, onion and tomato.”
“The Super Bowl is an annual occasion that’s never short on great snacks and treats,” remarks Doug Peckenpaugh, group publisher in charge of SF&WB, CI, and other industry publications. “My essential go-to is Super Bowl sundaes (on a Sunday, of course). We put out a Super Bowl sundae bar to make your own. Mine has to include a rich, chocolate brownie at its base, topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and maybe some crushed chocolate chip cookies on top to gild the lily.”
Liz Parker, senior editor with SF&WB and CI, says, “I’m not really a football person but I’d say anything salty—potato chips, etc.—for me.”
“If my Patriots were playing, I would be munching on celery and ranch dip made with nonfat Greek yogurt,” reveals SF&WB/CI Production Manager Jenny Allen (or “Cali Jenny” since there are so many Jennifers on staff here). “My go-to snack would be Cheetos and (no laughing) my mom‘s jalapeño popper dip—yes, together!”
Alyse Thompson-Richards, editor-in-chief of Cannabis Products Insider, likes a mix of savory and sweet eats while watching (or, more accurately, not watching) the game.
“During the Super Bowl, you’ll find me by the seven-layer taco dip or the buffalo chicken dip, rather than in front of the TV—I just can’t get enough,” she confides. “When it comes to sweets, I usually take a handful of M&Ms and a handful of cashews and eat them together—it’s the best way to fuel up for the big game.”
Hillary Harris, our senior online experience manager, says, “My go-to snacks for football season and the big game this year are toasted ravioli, and mac and cheese bites. Both snacks are quick to pop in the oven, easy to make as few or as many as you need, and super yummy—especially topped with your favorite dip or sauce.”
As for me, I’ll be sharing the wealth of snack, bakery, and candy samples sources have been kind and thoughtful enough to send to me (pretzels, potato chips, pulse-based puffs, cookies, cakes, and more) with my guests. Between bites, I just may pay a little attention to the game.