Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Chicago, released data detailing the sales lift of various food, beverage and consumer product categories that are most impacted by pre-game preparations and shopping sprees for the Super Bowl.

Key highlights include the following:

• Give me a cold one: Beer is the No. 1 product category by sales dollars, generating $583 million in sales the week prior to the NFL’s flagship event. It far outpaced liquor, which drove sales of $109 million, the market research firm notes.
• Don’t skip the dip: Dips and spreads experienced the most dramatic sales lift the week prior to the Super Bowl, as shelf-stable dips/dip mixes grew more than 45 percent, refrigerated dip sales increased 48 percent and refrigerated spreads were up 13 percent versus the week prior, the company says. In total, $54.8 million was spent on dips and spreads during the week leading up to the Super Bowl last year, it adds.
• Salty snacks reign supreme: With more than 196 million units sold, salty snacks constitute the leading category by units, generating $438 million in sales, IRI says.
• Cheese wins big: With $277 million in sales, natural cheese accounts for the majority of cheese sales during the week leading up to the Super Bowl, the company says. Cream cheese and processed cheese also reap a big sales boost from the big game, with sales spikes of 30 percent and 19 percent last year, respectively.. In comparison, natural cheese sales grew 10 percent, IRI adds.
• Big game by the fire: Firewood or firestarter sales increased 27 percent as Americans prepared to watch the Super Bowl; candles also performed well, with sales growth of more than 10 percent.

“IRI is constantly examining data in relation to special events, such as the Super Bowl, to better understand and highlight their influence on consumer shopping patterns,” said Susan Viamari, vice president of Thought Leadership at IRI, in a statement. “Unique insight into purchase behavior empowers IRI’s clients to take action to reach the right customers at the right time in order to grow their businesses.”

The study examined retail sales data for the week ending Feb. 1, 2015, for categories with a minimum of $10 million in dollar sales and greater than a 10 percent change in dollar sales versus the prior week. The sales figures include the total U.S. multi-outlet convenience store channel, which covers supermarkets, drug stores, mass-market retailers, gas/convenience stores, military commissaries and selected club and dollar retail chains; liquor stores are not included.

A full table of the IRI sales data can be found here