A new survey from Fresh Cravings, the Phoenix-based producer of refrigerated salsa, finds that whether sports fans are tailgating or "homegating," food and beverage preferences vary among regions and generations. Nevertheless, the survey of more than 1,200 participants also found that produce is a team player.
In its Game Day Eats Report, Fresh Cravings details sports fans’ behaviors during one of the most unusual years in history. Out of all the 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.”
Fresh Cravings’ report further found that 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).
And when it comes to which foods are fan favorites, it turns out different sports enthusiasts have different tastes. 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.
Regional differences prevail among dippers. But while the Midwest favors ranch and the South is keen on queso, when it comes to salsa, "restaurant style" is the overwhelming favorite, finds the report. 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.