The NFL Super Bowl 2014 is just round the corner on February 3 – a major US sporting event encased in the tradition of snacks, beer and hot wings.
Matthew Hudak, packaged food analyst at Euromonitor International, said the communal nature of the event gave opportunities for smaller snack brands and new products.
“People will bring things to parties, bring their favourite. If they bring your product, everyone will try it – it’s a communal event and a chance for people to try things. A Super Bowl party is like a pot luck of snacks,” Hudak told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“For up and coming brands, or brands that aren’t quite as big as Frito-Lay, definitely word of mouth is key. A lot of different snack products can come out of nowhere, just set off by word of mouth like wild fire.”
Particular promise for unique selling points
Brands that will do particularly well during the Super Bowl will be those that have a unique selling point or offer something completely different, Hudak said.
“Pop chips are really kind of different. If you think you’re different enough, then yes – you want to make sure people try the product and understand why you’re different.”
Beefing up marketing efforts with in-store advertising or promotional deals is worth it around the event, he said. “It should definitely be done if you can afford it and think your product needs extra exposure because remember that Frito-Lay will spend the appropriate amount to keep their products in people’s minds.”
Frito-Lay has launched its Doritos ad competition again this year - encouraging the public to submit adverts that will be aired during the game. The winners will receive $1m. The snack titan started its 'Crash the Superbowl' Doritos competition back in 2007. But advertising during the Super Bowl game doesn't come cheap - with a 30 second slot costing over $3m the past two years, according to Nielsen.
Competition is also coming from areas beyond snacks, like confectionery and even yogurt. Chobani and Dannon Oikos have both launched TV ads to promote greek-style yogurt as a snack option for this year's Super Bowl. Confectionery brands like Snickers and Kit-Kat have also go miniatures in share packs that could tempt Super Bowl snackers.
Is it stupid to imagine a healthy Super Bowl?
“The core of the Super Bowl never truly changes. It’s about hot wings, beer and chips – that’s just immovable,” Hudak said.
Some consumers will look for healthier options, he said, and popcorn, pretzels and popped chip varieties could benefit from this.
However, the desire for guilt-free snacking will, for the most part, be forgotten about for the Super Bowl, he said.