It’s a tradition almost as beloved as the big game itself.
Tucking into some saucy, crispy wings as the players take to field. Nervously nibbling on chips or pretzels between first downs and touchdowns.
Enjoying some dip or a sandwich or maybe even a vegetable tray as multimillion-dollar commercials flash across the screen.
There’s no doubt about it, Super Bowl Sunday is a big day for food.
A Super Bowl-themed display of potato chips at the Redner’s Warehouse Markets in South Heidelberg Township. (DAVID MEKEEL – READING EAGLE)
And this year, those stocking up for parties or their own viewing of the battle between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs will get a bit of a break. Despite ongoing double-digit inflation, many Super Bowl food staples are actually a bit cheaper right now than they were last year.
One of the most significant decreases is for chicken wings.
Shortages of wings sent prices skyrocketing last year. According to a report from Wells Fargo, last February the national average for a pound was $3.38.
That number reached nearly $4 in early April, but as supplies slowly rose to their highest level since the beginning of 2019 the cost tapered downward.
As of Monday, the average price for a pound of wings sits at $2.65, according to the Wells Fargo report. That’s about 22% less than a year ago.
“Chicken has started to come back down to a normal — well, I don’t want to say normal — a more palatable price,” Eric White, director of marketing and communications for Maidencreek Township-based Redner’s Markets Inc., said this week.
Other Super Bowl snacks are a bit of a mixed bag.
A Super Bowl display of chips at the Redner’s Warehouse Markets in South Heidelberg Township. (DAVID MEKEEL – READING EAGLE)
White said grocery stores are continuing to see some supply issues due to manufacturing challenges, difficulties getting raw materials, transportation hurdles and other issues.
“Each week we’re still dealing with challenges through the supply chains,” he said. “To say what we’re going to see, we don’t have a crystal ball.”
That means that some items are still experiencing significant inflation.
According to the Wells Fargo report, beverages and chips continue to be expensive headed into the big game.
Beer is about 11% more expensive than it was a year ago, the report said. Wine is about 2% more expensive, and spirits are about 2% more expensive.
For non-alcoholic beverages the news is even worse. The report says soft drinks are up by about 25% over prices from a year ago.
Demand for potato and tortilla chips rose in 2022, and prices have risen with that increased demand. Chips are about 11% more expensive than they were in 2022.
A display of chips at the Redner’s Warehouse Markets in South Heidelberg Township. (DAVID MEKEEL – READING EAGLE)
Other items that are cheaper this year include sirloin steaks, which are about $1 per pound less expensive than they were in December 2021. Shrimp saw a decrease in demand last year, so the price has dropped.
And while chips are pricier, picking something to dip them in can be a bargain this year.
Avocados — the chief ingredient in guacamole — have seen their price drop to about 20% less than they were a year ago. Hummus is also a relatively cheap dip option, the Wells Fargo report says.
If you’re thinking about firing up the grill for some burgers, the report says that while ground beef is a bit more expensive than it was a year ago, it’s down from a high point it hit around the Fourth of July. Bacon to top those burgers is cheaper than it was a year ago.
White said that regardless of the price of items, local football fans seem to be all in on this year’s Super Bowl. That probably shouldn’t be a surprise with a local team vying for a championship.
An Eagle’s cookie cake for sale at the Redner’s Warehouse Markets in South Heidelberg Township. (DAVID MEKEEL – READING EAGLE)
“It’s on, it’s on man,” White said. “There’s definitely more excitement this year. Having a local team in the game is a boon for us. It just gives everyone a little more pride and excitement.”
White said Redner’s stores have been seeing high=volume Super Bowl shoppers, in particular when it comes to the chain’s popular fried chicken.
“At some stores we’ve had to close off online ordering for Sunday because of the amount of orders,” he said.
And any Eagles fans who wander into a Redner’s store to pick up some last-minute supplies — or their order of fried chicken — for the big game will feel very much at home.
“We have a lot of green out in the stores right now,” White said. “People are definitely excited.”
Rolls adorned with the Philadelphia Eagle’s logo for sale at the Redner’s Warehouse Markets in South Heidelberg Township. (DAVID MEKEEL – READING EAGLE)