published Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

Pigskin pig out: Super Bowl Sunday second-biggest food day (behind thanksgiving)

Eric Martin, manager of the Brainerd location of Papa John's Pizza, adds the toppings to a pizza. Papa John's is prepared for a busy Super Bowl Sunday and filled their stock room in anticipation.
Eric Martin, manager of the Brainerd location of Papa John's Pizza, adds the toppings to a pizza. Papa John's is prepared for a busy Super Bowl Sunday and filled their stock room in anticipation.
Photo by Jay Bailey.

Game-day snacks

Americans will eat:

30 million pounds of snacks

11.2 million pounds of potato chips

8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips

4.3 million pounds of pretzels

2.5 million pounds of nuts

Source: Calorie Control Council

COUNTING CALORIES

The average game-watcher will eat 1,200 calories from snacking alone. Here's the average calories in one serving of some popular game-day foods:

Potato chips -- 156

Pretzels -- 106

Pizza with meat -- 530

Chicken wings -- 92

Nachos with beef, beans, cheese and sour cream -- 196

Beer -- 155

Soft drink -- 140

Source: Calorie Control Council

Josh Rollins won't spend Sunday afternoon watching Super Bowl XLVII — in fact, he hasn't watched a Super Bowl live for the last 16 years.

"Thank goodness for DVR," the Papa John's senior area director said with a laugh. He spends game day managing 12 local pizza restaurants -- Super Bowl Sunday is the busiest pizza day of the year, and every Papa John's employee works it.

"This is our Black Friday," he said. "It's our biggest event of the year. It even trumps New Year's Eve and Halloween."

Between 3 and 7 p.m. on Sunday, each one of his restaurants will pump out about 700 pizzas, wings and other products -- pushing sales to three or four times higher than a typical Sunday, Rollins said.

"Our sales go through the roof this time of year," he said. "The six-week trend after the Super Bowl last year was the best in Papa John's history."

Americans will eat about 1.23 billion chicken wings Sunday, as well as 27 million slices of pizza from Domino's and Pizza Hut alone, according to pizzamarketplace.com and the National Chicken Council.

Super Bowl Sunday is the second-biggest food consumption day in the U.S., right behind Thanksgiving, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports.

"We basically order a week's worth of food for just this one day," Papa John's shift manager Jennifer Durham said. "The wings, the pizzas, the extra-large pizzas -- everything just goes."

Rossville resident Antonio Brewer said that while he's planning to buy chips, minicakes and dip for the game, the one Super Bowl food he can't live without is chicken wings.

He hopes to spend just $50 on his game-day food, but he'll have to pay a little more to bring home his favorite this year -- chicken wing prices hit $2.11 a pound last week, the highest price ever recorded by the USDA.

Wing prices typically rise in the months leading up to the Super Bowl and peak in mid-January, the National Chicken Council reports. But this year, high corn and feed prices drove down the number of chickens produced -- and drove up prices.

Shawn Scherer, general manager of a Buffalo Wild Wings in Cleveland, Tenn., said the higher prices will eat into the restaurant's profits, but he still expects a "phenomenal" weekend.

"Anytime your costs go up, it's going to impact you, but I don't think it will impact us much for the Super Bowl -- people will still eat wings," he said. "You either raise your prices and pass it on to your guests, or you don't and you absorb it. We've chosen to absorb it."

It's not just pizza and wing joints that will see a spike in sales this weekend. Bi-Lo district director Daryl Massey said the 16 stores he manages have stocked up with extra finger foods, snacks, chips, soft drinks and beer.

Store traffic has been increasing steadily since Wednesday, and he expects to be busiest early Sunday afternoon.

"Basically there's an estimated 150 million-plus people expected to watch the game," he said. "It's a pretty big gathering time for family and friends."

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury joined the Times Free Press as a business reporter in January 2013, after starting with the paper as a general assignment intern in July 2012. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint Hill Times. Outside the newsroom, Shelly enjoys ...

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