Fresh Cravings, America’s fastest growing branded refrigerated salsa, released its Game Day Eats Report today, detailing sports fans’ behaviors during one of the most unusual years in history. Out of all people surveyed, 43% are likely to tailgate in-person within the next year, even if it looks different due to COVID-related restrictions, while just 13% said they are unlikely to tailgate in-person. As sports fans prioritize safety and social distancing measures this season, 6 out of 10 are now likely to bring the tailgate home by throwing a ‘homegating’ party.
Food and beverage preferences along with sports consumption behaviors varied among regions, generations, and sports fans, nevertheless chicken wings and dips remained essential to the eating and watching experience. Specific to salsa, 18% of tailgating or homegating guests would be devastated and consider leaving if salsa was missing from the table, and 22% would insist on running out to pick some up.
The idea of homegating was found to be the most popular in Northeastern states, with three-fourths of residents saying they are likely to try it. Eighty-six percent of men said they are more commonly the party planners when it comes to sports-watching gatherings. Healthy game day snacks are important to almost half (48%) of all tailgaters, with men being more likely to follow a diet or watch what they’re eating while tailgating; women are more likely to use the occasion as a “cheat day.”
“As an avid sports fan myself, I know how meaningful it’s been for many of us to see the return of some of our favorite sporting events, albeit safely from home,” said FoodStory Brands President Jay Whitney. “It means a great deal to us that Fresh Cravings can elevate that experience for fans with a variety of fresh salsas and dips for any homegating setup.”
Additional key findings from the Fresh Cravings’ Game Day Eats Report include:
- Women are twice as likely as men to say that they are “grazers,” eating smaller amounts of all different types of food over an extended period of time at tailgating or homegating events.
- Chicken wings are the favorite tailgating food among nearly all sports fans, except for NASCAR fans, who prefer hamburgers, and golf fans, who prefer salads and veggies.
- Most sports fans (97%) enjoy eating dip.
- The overall favorite type is Buffalo Chicken Dip.
- However, aside from that, Americans don’t agree on the favorite type.
- Ranch is more popular in the Midwest; Buffalo Chicken in the Northeast and West; Queso in the South.
- Women are more likely to prefer Ranch and 7-Layer Dip, and men are more likely to prefer Buffalo Chicken Dip and Salsa.
- Many tailgaters (52%) would try a vegan dip at a tailgate, including 6-in-10 Northeasterners; surprisingly, men are more likely than women to try a vegan dip (58% vs. 44%, respectively).
- Salsa is a very important component of a homegating or tailgating party.
- With the absence of salsa, 22% of guests would insist on running out to pick some up and 18% would be devastated and consider leaving. Another third of guests would be disappointed or judge you harshly, all because salsa wasn’t served!
- Restaurant Style salsa is the fan favorite.
- Overall, 1-in-5 tailgaters prefer a restaurant style salsa, and nearly half prefer a medium spice.
- Preferences for mild heat are highest in the Midwest and ‘bring the pain’ heat is highest in the South.
- Salsa’s best beverage pairing preferences are mixed.
- Millennials are the only generation that prefers craft beer over domestic beer to pair with chips and salsa.
- One-third of Baby Boomers would pair domestic or craft beer with salsa, compared to only 17% of sports fan overall.
- Avid baseball fans are most likely to pair domestic beer with their chips and salsa, while avid football and basketball fans rank soft drinks at the top; enthusiasm for craft beer as a pairing is highest among avid basketball fans.
Fresh Cravings offers chilled salsas in Restaurant Style or Chunky ranging from mild to hot, and most recently launched Pico de Gallo salsa in select market locations. The brand also offers a lineup of hummus and Plant-Based Dips in beloved flavor profiles, including Kickin’ Queso, French Onion, Spinach Artichoke, and Creamy Garlic. An ideal match for chips, crackers, vegetables, and many other crunchy snacks, Fresh Cravings’ dips and salsas are also a versatile ingredient for many game day recipes, such as Meatless Mini Taco Bowls, Chunky Black Bean & Chorizo Queso Dip and Stuffed Mushrooms.
Fresh Cravings products are available in the fresh produce department at more than 11,000 stores nationwide, including Walmart, Kroger, Publix, Target, and Safeway Albertsons. Southeast shoppers can now find the brand at Ingles Markets while New Englanders can look to their local ShopRite Supermarket.