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Snacks Retail Expertise

How Consumers are Gearing Up for the Big Game

The big game is coming and consumers are excited to gather together, cheer on their favorite team, and savor sweet and salty snacks.
Sheree Thomas
Senior Manager, Consumer Insights

Key Takeaways:

    • Consumers are excited for the big game, and many are planning to host or attend football viewing parties.
    • They’re stocking up on their favorite sweet and salty snacks to serve.
    • Creative combos that bring together Hershey favorites—like Hershey's Milk Chocolate drizzled SkinnyPop Popcorn mixed with Reese's Pieces—can surprise and delight sweet and savory lovers, alike.

February 2, 2024

Party planning for the big game has begun! 

Hershey’s Consumer Insights team recently polled consumers about their plans for football’s favorite Sunday and found that consumers are, indeed, ready for some football (and snacks). Nearly half of those surveyed (48%) said they have plans for the February 11 game. And they’ve got a mix of ideas about why they watch, what they’ll be eating, when they’ll go shopping and even how they’ll score good deals. 

What they’re watching for (and eating) 

Everyone has their own reason for tuning in to the football event of the year. According to our survey, the game itself is considered the main event for just over half of viewers (51%); and men (63%) are more likely than women (38%) to say the game is the best part. The next biggest draw? The commercials, which appeal to 27% of respondents. This year, the team at Hershey is excited to unveil a commercial featuring the Reese’s brand. So keep your eyes peeled! Then there’s the musical entertainment. Just over one-fifth of people surveyed (22%) said they tune in to see the halftime show. 

Plus, snacks! Consumers are planning to serve a little bit of everything, including baked treats, specialty fare like pizza and wings, and big bowls of sweet and salty nibbles.

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When—and how—they plan to shop 

A good football watch party takes some planning and consumers say they’re all in this year. Half of all respondents noted that their shopping will begin at least one week before the game, while nearly one-third (30%) said they plan to hit stores in the week leading up to game day. About 15% will wait until the day before, while 5% will rush to the store for last-minute purchases the day of the game. 

Aside from shopping in store, more consumers are preparing by ordering what they need online, whether to pick-up in store or get it delivered. Hershey is making it easy to buy your favorite game day snacks through a homepage sponsorship on DoorDash during the big game weekend. With more than 32 million people ordering on DoorDash per month, preparing for a watch party is likely to bring high traffic.

Price will be top-of-mind for many consumers as they shop. According to our research, 60% of those polled said inflation will impact their purchasing decisions for the big game. To cut costs, shoppers are thinking creatively and making plans to buy in bulk (30%), seek out coupons and promotions (29%), purchase less overall (26%), opt for lower-priced brands (25%) and buy smaller sizes (24%). Another great way to save is to host a potluck and encourage guests to bring along their favorite sweet or salty noshes to share. 

Sweet and salty for the win

While it’s true that people gather around the big showdown for different reasons—football vs. commercials vs. the halftime show—they’re all united by their desire for one thing: great food. 

Game day is the best excuse to get together with friends and family and “wow” people with exciting sweet and salty combos, like Reese’s Popcorn and Hershey’s Dipped Pretzels. You could make a homemade sweet-and-salty trail mix by combining SkinnyPop Popcorn, Dot’s Pretzels,  Hershey’s Baking Chips, chopped PayDay Bars and dried fruit. Or, you could keep it simple with family favorites like Pirate’s Booty Puffs and a bowl filled with individually wrapped Hershey’s Miniatures, Reese’s THiNS, KIT KAT® Bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups etc.

When you serve up sweet and salty combos, it’s a win because your guests can all find something they love in the snacks you serve, even if they’re rooting for different teams.

Source: Hershey Pulse Survey, January 2024