Be prepared to pay more for your Super Bowl foods

Be prepared to pay more for your Super Bowl foods

Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios

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If you’re planning to whip up your own wings and seven-layer dip for a Super Bowl watch party this Sunday, your spread is going to cost you.

What’s happening: Food prices are soaring — anyone who’s been in the grocery store over the past several months knows that. Super Bowl foods this year could cost you 8% to 14% more than they did in 2021, according to a new report from Wells Fargo.

The prices of meat products, in particular, may cause some sticker shock for shoppers, the report found, citing a range of sources, from the USDA to the BLS.

By the numbers: The price of prepared chicken wings is up 14% to 26% for bone-in and boneless, respectively, the report says.

  • The price of steak is up 23% over last year.
  • Ground hamburger costs are up 17%.

Driving the news: U.S. inflation rose to a 7.5% annual rate in January, the highest in 40 years. The rising cost of meat, eggs and citrus fruits is helping drive food inflation, the WSJ reported Thursday morning.

You’ll want to plan ahead if you’re grocery shopping for the Super Bowl in Charlotte. Publix anticipates heavy demand for wings, but they’re not limiting purchases of the popular poultry, spokesperson Jared Glover tells Axios.

  • “We have procured enough wings to meet demand for Sunday’s big game. We are, however, limiting order quantities through Instacart to ensure we can produce quality product according to cooking time frames,” Glover told Axios.

Food Lion, on the other hand, has a two-item limit on chicken wings, spokesperson Matt Harakal says.

  • The grocer takes other steps to prepare for Super Bowl Sunday, including procuring plenty of avocados and ensuring “they are ripe and guacamole-ready” for Sunday, plus placing popular items like chips and beer in high-trafficked areas in the store, according to Harakal.

Reid’s Fine Foods, which sells upscale grocery items from steak to produce, reluctantly raised prices on a range of items during the pandemic, owner Tom Coker says. He’s hopeful that we’ve hit the peak, and that price trends mirror Covid metrics and start decreasing.

“It’s been a challenging year especially in meat and poultry. Meat prices have gone up well over 20-30%,” Coker says.

A number of compounding factors contribute to the rising costs of poultry in particular, says Jemison Bartlett, a Charlotte-based food and agribusiness portfolio manager at Wells Fargo. It boils down to labor and supply-chain constraints.

  • What this means: Meat-packing plants tend to be in rural parts of the country. When fuel costs rise — and when truck drivers become increasingly hard to find — the cost of shipping meat out across the country also rises.

As the pandemic began, meat-packing plants closed periodically. And as the pandemic has continued, plenty of meat-packing employees sought other work in places that’d pay more or that offer safer working conditions.

“That caused a lot of problems because you have all these animals that’ve been produced to be slaughtered, processed and sent to the grocery stores — but there’s no one there to actually slaughter them,” Bartlett tells Axios.

Other food costs: Other popular Super Bowl items have also risen in cost.

  • Potato chips, for instance, are up, albeit modestly — 1%.
  • Avocado costs also have slightly risen by 1%.
  • The cost of salsa is up 6% from last year.
  • Soda prices are up 6% and 12% for 12-pack of cans and 2-liter bottles, respectively.

Some good news: Beer and wine prices are only up 4% and 3%, respectively. Cheers.

The bottom line: Plan ahead, be prepared to pay more, and enjoy the game.

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