Hot Wings

Spreading Snacks, Not COVID, for the Super Bowl

COVID-19 has rearranged lives all over the world, but today, Americans are having a football game. Urgent pleas from public health folks are putting a lid on big parties. So the emphasis seems to be shifting to far-flung snacking. Social distance, small crowds, or preferably no crowds – people still want their Super Bowl snacks.

The economic stimulus for today will definitely go to the snack producing and delivering industries.

Logistics of Wings Eclipsing Vaccines

The snacking industrial complex is rising to the challenge of distributing a massive surge in snack foods during the height of a public health crisis. The New York Times reports that data analytics will rise to the challenge:

“For weeks, a group of analytics and finance teams inside DoorDash have been creating algorithmic models to predict hour-by-hour demand on game day. The forecasts are based partly on past Super Bowls, but also on data that has been collected and analyzed for holidays during the pandemic, including New Year’s Eve, Cinco de Mayo and Father’s Day, said Jessica Lachs, the vice president of analytics at DoorDash.”

The supply chain is a challenge, too. Pandemic snacking has brought a shortage of chicken wings precisely when we need them the most. Have no fear. Though we might pay a little more, the wings will go out. Last year, Buffalo Wild Wings sold 11 million wings for the Super Bowl. President Lyle Tick is ready to meet or exceed that number this year despite the pandemic and the supply crunch:

“We expect to see similar total demand, but an increase in off-premise ordering and, if I was a betting person, more parties of smaller size, so smaller order size as well.”

Rising to the Challenge

With varying degrees of success, we are meeting the challenge of COVI-19. We’re doing really well with snacking. Emily Flanagan et al surveyed health behaviors of adults in four countries. They found that 26 percent of respondents reported they’re doing more healthy snacking during the pandemic. Another 44 percent say they’re doing more unhealthy snacking. However you label it, there’s a whole lotta snacking going on.

So today, the snack production and distribution industries are rising to the challenge. If you want Super Bowl snacks, they’re here for you.

Want a vaccine? We’ll get back to you on that.

Click here for more on Super Bowl snacks in the midst of a pandemic. For the study by Flanagan et al, click here. For perspective on the health implications of snacking, click here. Finally, for more on how the pandemic is reshaping Super Bowl celebrations, click here.

Hot Wings, photograph © Shelby L. Bell / flickr

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February 7, 2021