The Super Bowl is, of course, a football game, but perhaps what's most connected to watching this cornerstone event on the NFL calendar is consuming copious amounts of food and drinks starting hours before the big game kicks off. In other words, the winner between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles is almost secondary for many as Super Bowl snacks take center stage. That means shippers who offer the items most popular at big game parties must ensure their supply chains are running smoothly so retailers have the right food and drinks in stock, and in the right quantities, for fans to enjoy. Supply chain management in this regard is vital, as shipping food and beverage freight is a bit different than other products, with freshness being paramount. Many such items - especially in winter - require temperature controlled service to keep from freezing (though frozen does work for some popular snacks). Depending on the type of product, it may have been fine shipped ahead and staged in warehouses, but other products can't have too much lead time due to risk of spoilage. In fact, if you're a food or drink shipper reading this now with plans to sell, sell, sell for the big game, expedited freight may still be an option - especially with capacity still generally available. But ideally, you're already ahead of the game and have had your ducks - or chips or bottles - in a row for awhile.
What are the most popular Super Bowl foods and drinks?
The most popular Super Bowl food and drinks likely come as little surprise for those who partake in the annual tradition of Super Bowl parties each year. A 2020 survey by YouGov went beyond the anecdotal to find out what Americans were most likely to consume for the big game. The top Super Bowl snacks include (in order of popularity):
- Chips and dip
- Chicken wings
- Cheese and crackers
- Ice cream
To wash it down, the most popular Super Bowl drinks are:
- Iced tea
Any surprising omissions or inclusions? Perhaps sandwiches, hotdogs/cocktail wieners, veggies & dip and brownies could have an argument in the food arena, while other than water and an alcoholic beverage of choice, the drink list seems pretty comprehensive. At any rate, supply chains must be running smoothly to get and keep these popular foods and drinks on store shelves and in restaurant kitchens. And just last year, one of the top food items could be especially hard to come by in some circles: chicken wings. The chicken wing shortage was largely due to high demand, but supply has now risen to meet the demand so wings should be fairly easy to come by this year as shippers and retailers have adjusted their inventory.
Super Bowl supply chain challenges
The challenges around Super Bowl supply chains for logistics pros are similar to any time of seasonal demand. It isn't very helpful to get products on shelves the Monday after the big game, so finding the sweet spot to ensure consumers can get your popular items when they're most likely to buy them - and not missing out on sales by coming up short on supply - is a must. We went over the challenges and unique nature of Super Bowl apparel last year. But in terms of food and drinks, it's a combination of having an adequate supply, shipping it in a timely manner, having more inventory staged & ready and ensuring freshness. Effective supply chain management around a major event like the Super Bowl means ensuring added capacity both on normal freight lanes and likely on some a shipper doesn't use as often, and having a firm grasp on the supply and demand equation to allow for shifts in where items are going based on consumer behavior. Since interest in the Super Bowl is pretty national in nature, there probably won't be as much regionalism to worry about, but it's still a consideration.
When it comes to food and drinks as well as surge freight shipping - Super Bowl and otherwise, InTek Freight & Logistics can help. Put our expertise to work for your unique business needs by requesting a quote, and we'll be happy to get back to you. For more information about us, or logistics and supply chain issues in general, check out our Resources page.