The Super Bowl is no joke for Todd Steward. He's hosted a viewing party at his downtown Seattle apartment for the past 14 years. It has become a tradition for him and his circle of friends.
Other than the game itself, it's his steaks that get the loudest cheers on game day.
“The only time I use the grill outside on my deck is for my Super Bowl party,” Steward said in an interview with CNN. “I finished my barbecue one year after a party. My friends always tease me about it. One of them is usually the first one to arrive at the party. He cleans it and lights it up because he knows I haven't used it all year.”
The steaks, which have become a party favorite, are seasoned with his spice blend. After giving it a good scrub, he puts the meat in the refrigerator overnight and on the grill when the game starts.
Steward hasn't bought the steak yet. He carefully tracks the prices of meat at his local QFC store and may have to make a decision two days before the Super Bowl on February 11.
“I haven't told the guests yet because they are expecting my steaks,” he said. “But because of the high prices, I'm really thinking about buying hamburger meat, hot dogs and some chicken breasts instead, even though that's expensive too.”
Courtesy Todd Steward
Todd Stewart with his grill.
There's another reason Steward is tightening his food budget for this year's party. He was just laid off from his tech job on January 19th.
“I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, but reality is reality,” he said. “Steak prices are high. I can buy a lot more hot dogs and buns, and I'm sure I won't lose a few friends over it. “At least I hope not.”
While shoppers are still paying more for their groceries amid stubborn food price inflation, the good news is that the pace of price increases at the grocery store has slowed over the past year.
like december, Food prices rise by 1.3% over the past 12 months, but down from the significant 11.8% increase for all of 2022.
For some big game day dishes, the cost of purchasing ingredients is lower than it was a year ago, but many other popular snack items and drinks for viewing today's festivities have become more expensive, according to a new Wells Fargo Super Bowl food spending report Thursday.
“There are some deals, like chicken wings and shrimp, that will give party hosts some price relief on their spread,” Michael Swanson, chief agricultural economist at Wells Fargo, told CNN in an interview.
According to the report, a pound of fresh chicken wings decreased by 5%, reaching an average of $3.26 in January 2024 versus the same time last year. A pound of frozen wings averaged $3.17, or down 11%, in January compared to last year.
“Chicken wing prices have gone through the roof two years ago. “We're now seeing a decline in those prices,” Swanson said, as the cost of feed, transportation and other supply chain inputs declines.
But beware of other meats. Steak and beef prices are up from last year. Sirloin was up 2.3%, while ground beef was up nearly 12% in January from a year ago.
“Beef is going through its own cycle right now,” Swanson said, adding that industry-specific issues such as record low cattle numbers are driving up store-bought beef prices.
According to the report, shrimp is a cause for celebration. The report said that store prices fell on average by 6.4% per pound compared to last January, citing strong global supplies.
Branded chips and ready-made sauces cost more, Swanson said. Tortilla chip prices They are up 6% year over year, while potato chips are up 5% year over year (in December).
In beverages, canned soft drinks will cost more than bottled versions. The price of soft drinks in a 12-ounce can rose 4.8% from last year, driven by higher aluminum prices among other factors, the report said, while the same soft drink in a 2-liter bottle fell 0.8% from last year (based on December data ).
This year is the 26th year that San Francisco resident Amy Larson and her husband have hosted a Super Bowl party.
“The Super Bowl every year is my excuse to make him track food, especially hot wings,” she said. “I can't afford it, so it's the only day of the year I make it for him.”
Her game feast also included hot vegetarian cauliflower wings, chili, and barbecue “Pulled pork strips, 7 layers of dip (including a vegan version) with tortilla chips, fresh baked desserts, and several alcoholic beverages,” she said in an interview with CNN.
Over the years, Larson has mastered a few tricks to managing her Super Bowl food budget.
Amy Larson's Super Bowl went viral last year.
“I compare stores starting a week or two in advance. I also buy items from the international aisle (which can sometimes be less expensive), and I make items from scratch whenever possible.
Pulled pork slices are another staple at their buffet. “The cost of meat and pork is very high here in the Bay Area,” she said.
Larson bought a mini-refrigerator during the pandemic for her apartment. “Throughout the year, if I see a really good deal on something, like a pork butt that is perfect for pulled pork, I pick it up and put it in the freezer,” Larson said. “So when something like the Super Bowl comes around, I have a pork chop ready to go and it's affordable because I bought it on sale.”
While he was waiting to buy the steaks, Steward said he had already purchased all of his sides, including chips, salsa, sour cream and potatoes for his baked potatoes. He also suggests that guests bring an appetizer if they want, and has a BYOB policy.
“I usually also buy spirits and other drinks but I'm not sure about that either because of the high prices,” Steward said. “I usually spend $300 to $500 on food and drinks. This year it will be less. I really don't want to go over $250.”
—CNN's Alicia Wallace contributed to this story
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