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Ask any American what he/she is doing on Sunday, February 7, and the answer is likely to be either hosting or attending a Super Bowl party. For those that need a refresher, Super Bowl is the grand finale of the American football season. Played between the AFC (Denver Broncos) and NFC (Carolina Panthers) champions for the coveted title of the National Football League Champion, it is the most watched annual television program in the United States.
That's because Super Bowl which is celebrating its Golden Anniversary this year, is more than just a 60-minute football game - It is an elaborate production that features fantastic half-time performances, spectacular fireworks shows and television ads that people discuss for days.
But most important of all, it is the day to set aside all diets and indulge in foods one would generally avoid or at least not consume at the same time. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest food consumption days in the U.S. — Second only to Thanksgiving.
The noshing will start early in the day, long before the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers begin the exciting battle at the Levis Stadium in San Jose, CA and continue long after the 2016 NFL Champions have retired to celebrate.
The American Snack Food Foundation estimates that on Sunday, the nation will crunch through 1.2 million pounds of potato chips, 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips (accompanied by guacamole made from 79 million avocados), 3.8 million pounds of popcorn and 3 million pounds of nuts.
When the real hunger pangs start to hit, they will seek out comfort foods. Not surprisingly, pizza tops the list. Pizza Hut, one of the country's three largest chains expects to deliver 2 million pies on this day. In honor of the football championship's 50th year, the company has planned a special surprise. Fifty randomly selected customers that order their recently introduced Stuffed Garlic Knots Pie will only receive two pizzas — The one they ordered and another topped with $100 USD worth of edible 24-carat gold. Delivered in a special gold box, it will also include a $100 USD Pizza Hut gift card!
Chicken wings are also very popular. The National Chicken Council Association estimates that almost 1.3 billion wings will be consumed on Super Bowl Sunday. That is enough to circle the Grand Canyon 120 times! Other favorites include ribs (10 million pounds), bacon (12.5 million pounds), foot-long subs, hot dogs, and burgers.
To wash down the food, adults will consume almost 52 million cases of beer while kids and teetotalers will gulp down $2.37 million USD worth of soda. It is no wonder that Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi Cola are the game's biggest sponsors.
All this food does not come cheap. The National Retail Foundation estimates that Super Bowl partygoers will spend an average of $82.19 USD, most of it on food and beverages. This is up $5 USD from last year and the highest in the survey's history. While that may not seem much, it adds up when you consider that a record 188.9 million people are expected to watch the game.
The reckless food consumption is not without consequences. Data released by convenience store chain 7-Eleven indicates that antacid sales increase by 20% the Monday following the big game. Additionally, over seven million Americans call in sick. It is no wonder that fans have been urging the country's legislators to declare Super Bowl Monday a holiday, for many years - So far, they have refused to budge!
Happy Super Bowl Sunday!
Resources: abcnews.com, forbes.com, wikipedia.org, NFL.com,NRF.com