What will America be eating when they watch Sunday's Super Bowl XLVI? Pizza? Crepes? Some prognosticators estimate we'll eat 1.25 billion chicken wings (National Chicken Council) and 48 million of us will order takeout or delivery (National Restaurant Association).
The association predicts the 10 "Top Must-Have Food Items for Watching the Big Game" will be, in this order: Salsa, dips or spreads followed by chicken wings, pizza, desserts, subs/sandwiches, nachos, healthful food items (honest!), salads, fried/baked/roasted chicken and finally hamburgers/cheeseburgers. At least per their survey of 1,014 Americans.
But at Super Bowl, predictions can get super-sized, from the final score to what you'll be stuffing in your gullet. To cut through the hype, we tracked down the man who's been tracking what America eats for more than 30 years, Harry Balzer.
So, what is the number one food eaten on Super Bowl Sunday? "Vegetables is by far the number one thing eaten." says Balzer, chief industry analyst at NPD group, a market research firm.
You mean veggie pizza? "No. It's not veggie pizza," says Balzer. "The answer's the same ever year. It's never changed. Vegetables. Yet it's the story that comes up every year and it's always the wrong answer.
"On Super Bowl Sunday, do you have any idea how many people watch Super Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday? It's a hundred million. It would be a good Super Bowl if 100 million people watched. But there are 300 million people in this country and I watch all of them," says Balzer, who's been watching what we eat for more than 25 years for NPD's annual Eating Patterns in America report and crunching Super Bowl numbers since 1981.
"So when you ask me what do American's eat in their homes on Super Bowl Sunday, what you're really asking is what do the 200 million who don't watch the Super Bowl eat because they dominate the number."
And on Sunday, in the 200 mil or so homes that aren't watching the game, people will sit down to a dinner that will have vegetables and they will snack on vegetables.
So what about those Super Bowl watchers? What do you predict they'll be eating?
That question, Balzer says, is: Consumption of which foods will increase the most on Super Bowl Sunday? "Probably one of five foods: Pizza, chicken wings, chips and dips, carrots and avocados," he says.
Yep, vegetables — on veggie trays (think baby carrots, cukes and pepper strips with ranch dressing), chicken wings (celery sticks), a veggie pizza.