A CPG Play by Play for the Big Game

We can just imagine what’s been in the dreams of CPG brand marketers and grocery stores lately – a certain upcoming Sunday buffet table, where sports fans will have their pick of fun foods from hot wings to BBQ ribs.

Football fans are busy working on their playbooks (aka grocery shopping lists) for the upcoming big football game. 

It’s pretty obvious which CPG items will make consumers’ starting lineups. More than half of Americans (55%) say chicken wings, pizza, and chips and dipping sauces are their favorite snacks for game day, according to a December 2022 consumer sentiment survey commissioned by NCSolutions. 

A chart shows the top 10 favorite snacks for the big game. Chicken wings come out on top, followed by pizza, chips & dip, no favorite, nachos, burgers & sliders, cheese & crackers, fruits & vegetables, frozen snacks, and ribs.

Not every fan has a favorite team – or a favorite game day snack. More than one in 10 Americans say they don’t have a preference, which means they could be swayed any number of ways.

How can brands and retailers prep their own playbooks? We looked back at consumer purchase behavior and noticed a few trends. Here’s our play-by-play coaching advice for optimizing sales in the lead up to the big game.

1.The Play: Kick-off Ads for Deli Early in the Week

During the week before the big game, there is a rush of deli meats on Thursdays.

Consumers start shopping for deli items earlier than you might expect. Household sales of deli combination packs tend to peak three days before the big game – on Thursday. 

Party hosts will want to buy deli combination packs to satisfy everyone in the crowd. Plan to remind your loyal buyers early in the week – no later than Wednesday – why they love your brand or your store. With the right advertising at the right time, your brand will be top of mind as hosts make their shopping lists. 

2.The Play: Size Up Salty Snacks

Salty snacks are most frequently bought on Saturday for the big game

When tension is high and a team on the one yard line is about to make a touchdown, partygoers can’t resist one more pretzel, handful of nuts, or some ready-to-eat popcorn. 

Every good host knows the value of bottomless bowls of salty snacks.

Since quantity matters, cost does too. With inflation, consumers are more likely to base decisions on value packaging. Consider deals on family-sized bags to help buyers keep snack bowls full.

Keep in mind shoppers mostly buy salty snacks the day before the big game, so don’t let up on offense too soon. Keep those deals going until the last minute.

3. The Play: Keep the Pressure on Dips and Spreads

Chips and dip are most frequently bought on  the day of the big game.

No party is complete without dips and spreads. Americans love their chips and dip so much that household sales of dips and spreads gradually increase over the week before – and shoppers are still buying dip on the day of the game.

Marketers can motivate category buyers to try their brand by advertising right through halftime. After all, no one likes to run out of onion dip.

So there it is – your CPG play by play for the Big Game. Take note of these consumer purchase trends, align your advertising strategy and take home the CPG championship ring. Super!