By Christine Romans, CNN Business
There’s an uninvited guest coming to your Super Bowl party this year: inflation.
Last year’s shindig may have been a casualty of Covid hibernation. This year, with mass vaccinations and more widespread testing, such a get-together is finally possible. And with it comes a grocery bill that reflects the surging consumer prices.
Wells Fargo crunched the numbers and found the price tag for your Super Bowl party could be 14% higher than last year, depending on what you serve.
Meat prices are the biggest offender. Bad news for fans of wings: prices for fresh and frozen chicken rose nearly 12% from last year. Ground beef for your Super Bowl chili is 13% more expensive. And forget about serving steak — prices are up 21%.
If you want to tweak the menu to keep the bill down, consider hot dogs. Prices for the all-American staple have fallen over the past year, and potato chip prices are up only about 1%.
On the drink cart, beer and wine prices are up just about 4% and 3%, respectively. But soda prices are fizzing. A 12-pack of 12-ounce soft drink cans has risen by nearly 12%.
Guacamole is a wild card, because avocado prices tend to rise before the big game in most years. Wells Fargo reported that avocados from Mexico and South America have expanded production and are keeping up a solid supply.
But Bloomberg News reports booming demand, labor shortages, higher wages and supply chain backlogs are driving up avocado prices.
With overall consumer price inflation running the hottest since the 1980s, you may have to get creative to keep your grocery bill down.
Watch for specials, says grocery store executive Stew Leonard Jr. Some stores may have over-ordered chicken wings for the Super Bowl to compensate for late or canceled deliveries.
“You don’t know if the shipment is going to show up or not so you order extra, and you keep your fingers crossed and hope that it’ll be delivered,” he told CNN Business.
In some cases, the result will be big price cuts. “You’ll see specials every week at a store,” Leonard says. “Stock up and freeze the items.”
Another way to save: Try cheaper off-brand goods.
“We’re seeing a big shift from those national brands to private-label in-store brands,” Leonard says. “Sometimes they’re made by the same manufacturer.”
And be nimble, as there are always bargains to be found.
“Even though there is a pandemic, the thing about the food industry is there’s always spots where some of the suppliers have to move heavy volume and they’ll give you a discount on it.”
Whatever you spend, you’re still saving money by celebrating at home: This year’s super bowl tickets are the most expensive ever. And last year, you probably didn’t have to a party to host or go to.
— CNN’s Laurie Frankel and Kate Trafecante contributed reporting.
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