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Bracing for the blitz
Super Bowl one of top five 'food occasions'
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Burlean Chafin loads a grocery cart as her husband, Vernon, pushes the cart past a display of Super Bowl snacks at Wal-Mart in Cumming. The big game Sunday is the one of the top five food occasions of the year for supermarkets. - photo by Jim Dean (previous profile)

Friends, family and football – the three Fs of Super Bowl Sunday. The only thing missing is food.

Fortunately, Forsyth County retailers are prepared to tackle any dish for Super Bowl XLIII parties.

“There are events throughout the year that consumers historically have been very proud to be a part of and celebrate, and Super Bowl Sunday is one of those events,” said Glynn Jenkins, spokesman for Kroger supermarkets.

“It’s not only the game, but the camaraderie with friends and family and the food.”

Jenkins said frozen pizzas and hors d’oeuvres are big sellers for Super Bowl parties. That's in addition to traditional fare like burgers, hot dogs, popcorn and snacks.

Brenda Reid, spokeswoman for Publix supermarkets, said the game has become so popular, it’s one of the “top five food occasions in the country."

Reid sales in certain areas are likely to increase based on two things.

“It’s a combination of who’s in the game or whether or not the game is in your city,” she said. “If the Falcons were going to the Super Bowl, it would be a much bigger deal right now for the folks in Atlanta."

The Falcons, of course, are not in the big game. Instead, it will be the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers battling it out in Tampa Bay, Fla.

Still, Publix has loaded its shelves with traditional party foods and its deli section features chicken wings, sub sandwiches, meat and cheese platters and fresh side dishes like coleslaw and pasta and potato salads.

Other popular items include football-shaped cakes and football-decorated cupcakes, which Reid said make the snack table look more festive.

She said their weekly sale prices, which began today, likely will determine product popularity.

“Usually when we put them on sale, those are the items that fly off the shelf,” Reid said.

Regardless of which teams are playing, she expects the same number of people to celebrate.

“Die-hard football fans are die-hard football fans," she said. "You can’t lock them out on Super Bowl Sunday.”

Russ Hilsher, manager of the Wal-Mart in Cumming, agreed.

“I don’t think it matters who’s in it,” Hilsher said. “It’s a big weekend just because people can get together and have a party.”

Hilsher said Wal-Mart will offer low prices on Super Bowl favorites, including beverages, chips and deli platters.

The food department will be well stocked with Super Bowl treats, and shoppers will be able to find NFL decorations and balloons in the colors of both teams.