Super Bowl Party? Hike the Ball, and the Cost

Prices up 8% to 14%, Wells Fargo report shows
Wells Fargo Super Bowl Food Report
Image courtesy of Wells Fargo

CHICAGO — Convenience-store operators drawing up a play to help planners keep expenses for Super Bowl parties low should recommend guacamole, pork and beer in the starting lineup.

So says Wells Fargo in its inaugural Super Bowl Food Report.

Prices are about steady since last year for the guacamole’s avocados, pork is up a modest 7%, and beer prices are more or less stable, writes Michael Swanson, Wells Fargo chief agricultural economist.

Overall, however, party ingredients are up 8% to 14% over 2021, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis retail food spending data series.

Though chips and dips, vegetables and other appetizers are up about 2% to 5%, they nonetheless are the best value, Swanson said. Grill items, meanwhile, are up 12% to 18%, and beer or wine are up 4% to 5%.

Here’s a more in-depth look at ingredients as the Bengals-Rams showdown nears:

Table fare

Potato chips: A solid starter when battling inflation, the potato chip is up just 1% versus 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). “We can thank American farmers’ and food manufacturers’ strong preparation and deft execution for keeping a lid on the price pressure,” Swanson wrote.

Guacamole/avocados: Again, up just 1% from a year ago, according to Nielsen data from early January 2022. “Most avocados and guacamole come from our Mexican and South American friends,” Swanson wrote. “They continue to expand production and execute, keeping the supply ample.”

Salsa: Salsa is up 6% from last year, said Nielsen. “Once again, it’s due to labor, packaging and shipping, rather a lack of chilis and tomatoes,” he added.


Carrots, celery and tomatoes (depending on brand and format) are roughly the same price as last year. Looking at BLS and Nielsen numbers, there are many options that are flat or down a bit. “Review your options to buy in bulk and prepare them yourself,” Swanson wrote.

Wings and more

Proteins are a key area of price increases, and with reasons including higher feed costs and COVID’s impact on processing and the supply chain.

Chicken wings: Prepared bone-in chicken wings are up 14%, and prepared boneless are up 26%, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and individually quick-frozen chickens are up 26%.

Pork chops: 7% more expensive than last year, the BLS said, but given protein inflation, this makes them worth buying.

Steak: Up 23% from a year ago, with 1 lb. at $11.06 for USDA choice sirloin (versus $8.98 2021), the BLS said.

Cocktail wieners: 7% higher than last year, according to Nielsen.

Hamburger: Ground is up 17% from a year ago, at $4.60 per pound nationally, said the BLS. “One of the differences for steak versus hamburger is the sourcing and the demand,” Swanson wrote. “The U.S. brings in meat to grind into hamburger from Australia and Brazil (to mention the big two), and the U.S. exports high-end cuts to Asia. These market dynamics led to less price pressure for hamburger versus the steaks.”


Soft drinks: Labor, packaging and transportation costs are affecting prices; 2-liter bottles jumped the most, 12%, according to the BLS, with a 12-pack of cans up 6%. “Both represent big jumps compared to general food inflation,” Swanson wrote. “Even so, that 2-liter bottle represents a better value if you can get your attendees to agree on the type and flavor.”

Beer: Prices are up 4% from a year ago, the BLS said, with brewers facing higher labor, packaging and shipping costs just like soft drinks. However, overcapacity has softened the price hike.

Wine: Similar to the beer industry, with prices up 3%, said the BLS. California wineries and vineyards are still struggling with higher labor, transportation and water costs, Swanson said. “However, global supply capacity is making it difficult to pass those cost increases along.”

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