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Progressive Grocer: Are Consumers Game for This Month’s Big Occasions?

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February may be the heart of winter and cabin-fever season, but two annual occasions draw shoppers to grocery stores: the Big Game and Valentine’s Day.

As the National Football League title game has moved deeper into February, that occasion is now close to the observation of Valentine’s Day. Given the current inflationary climate and shoppers’ mindset, are consumers poised to spend more on one event than another?

Melissa Myres, director for 84.51° Insights, thinks that grocers can score points with consumers focused on both sport and affection. “While I can’t predict Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day spending this year, my bet would be to take the over, meaning I don’t anticipate any spend cannibalization between these two,” she told Progressive Grocer. “Historically, when the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day fall within a few days of each other, we don’t see an impact to spending on key categories related to each holiday. Last year, Valentine’s Day fell on the Monday after the Super Bowl and spending remained intact. While inflationary pressure is slightly higher than year ago, we see an increased intent to watch the Super Bowl – up 4 points versus a year ago – with the majority of respondents hosting at their home.”

The Kroger Co.'s 84.51°’s customer analytics arm shared other data supporting the notion that consumers will add products to their carts to mark these two occasions falling within the same week. According to the group’s February Consumer Digest, snacks are likely to be in carts ahead of the Big Game on Sunday, Feb. 12: The researchers found that 72% of respondents eat chips and dips, 42% eat homemade appetizers and 44% eat pizza on game day.

Other fresh data from PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America division affirms that snacks are as much a part of gridiron festivities as the halftime show and commercials. According to a consumer poll conducted for that CPG, 49% of 2023 Super Bowl party guests believe that running out of snacks is worse than their favorite team losing the game.

Frito-Lay’s findings also show that consumers’ drive for variety is reflected in their snacks for this occasion. Compared to previous years, 71% say they're more excited to try new flavors or variations of their favorite snacks in 2023. Breaking that down by demographic teams, Millennials are the most eager to try new snack flavors, followed by Gen Z and Gen X, while Baby Boomers prefer classic flavors.

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