By Menachem Lubinsky, Lubicom CEO
The Super Bowl isn’t just the football game of the year; it’s an American ritual that brings people together with food, drink, pricey commercials and, of course, enormous parties with friends. Americans love the Super Bowl and it’s not (only) because we’re huge fans of watching men tackle one another. Most of us love the Super Bowl because of one thing and one thing only: the food.
Thanks to pregame hype and clever advertising, the food and beverage industry thrives on that day. Throughout the big event, Super Bowl viewers are prompted to eat – subconsciously or not. The ads, mixed with party energy and sports competitiveness, trigger an automatic eating response. It basically makes you want to mindlessly eat whatever food is in front of you. Scary, no?
It’s predicted that this year Americans will spend upwards of $16 billion on game day celebrations, with food and beverage businesses representing the bulk of that spending.
Food spending rises concurrently in the kosher market. Most kosher meat restaurants have Super Bowl specials with options for parties of 10 to 100. So although kosher restaurants may not be amongst the marketing giants advertised on the commercials, serving hungry customers and catering parties is bringing in the bucks.
Eli, a 37-year old attorney, has been hosting a Super Bowl party for his friends for the last decade. “It started with just two friends in 2009, and now we rent a hall, a huge screen and hire a caterer for 20 or so people,” he says.
With the Super Bowl scheduled for February 3rd, kosher restaurants all over the country are already advertising their specials for what one calls a “Barbecue Deluxe.” Food bloggers are highlighting hundreds of recipes that are far afield from the traditional popcorn, pretzels and potato chips, including hummus bars, papaya guacamole, mock crab and artichoke spread, smoked trout dip, salted caramel popcorn, kosher coconut shrimp cocktails and other exotic foods that transcend the traditional items still offered by many restaurants.
For those who identify the Super Bowl with barbecue wings, fried chicken, onion rings, franks, and French fries, there are still plenty of those to go around.
What is astounding is that it is no longer a side business for many restaurants and retailers. The Super Bowl has become a profit center, much like a holiday. Eli, who used to spend just under $100 on his parties now splits a tab of over $3,500 (“which is much less than my bet,” he jokes).
This year, more than 200 million people are expected to tune in for Sunday’s festivities. The real question is, are you an actual fan of the sport, or do you belong to the 27% of Americans who watch it for the attention-grabbing commercials and mouthwatering party spreads?
Either way, add one more holiday to your Yom Tov list – Super Bowl Sunday.