When it came to Super Bowl 50, the supermarkets selling suds in Ontario were key players, says a new Field Agent Canada survey.
During the big game, the consumer research firm asked Canadians via mobile app which brands of salty snacks, carbonated soft drinks and beer they were serving at their Super Bowl parties.
The data from 715 people uncovered something unexpected: that grocery stores are already tackling the market hard since 60 of them started offering beer across the province less than two months ago.
The second annual Game Day Brand Wars survey found supermarkets accounted for 11 per cent of trips to buy beer in preparation for the game day celebrations, with the rest split almost evenly between The Beer Store (46 per cent) and the LCBO (43 per cent).
“Super Bowl is a peak period for beer purchases, so it was our first real read on how things are going at the supermarkets where it’s sold in Ontario,” said Jeff Doucette, general manager of Field Agent Canada.
“I was surprised to see sales as high as they were, in double digits. I was expecting about half that,” he noted.
“It’s a good start to this category of grocery” items, Doucette said.
Grocers that stock beer in their stores notice the much anticipated concept is already gaining traction with consumers at such locations including 24 in the GTA and six in Toronto (though not downtown.)
“We saw a considerable spike in beer sales versus a usual Sunday, which is a good illustration that customers are increasingly seeing us as a convenient option for beer,” said Loblaw spokesperson Catherine Thomas.
“We have been pleased with the results of beer sales to date and our customers have responded positively to our selection of products,” she said Monday.
A spokesperson for Longo’s said in an email they started offering beer at two stores in Oakville last weekend and sales were strong.
Loblaws and its Real Canadian Superstore banner now sell brews in 16 of the 60 chain and independent grocery stores that make up the first wave of what will eventually be 450 of Ontario’s 1,500 supermarkets. Loblaws, Canada’s largest food retailer, said from the outset it would devote half of its beer shelf space to craft brews - much more than the 20 per cent mandated by the provincial government.
Meanwhile, according to the survey, Coors Light maintained a slight lead as the single most purchased beer among respondents for their Super Bowl get-togethers in most provinces, though they were tied at 10 per cent each nationally.
When it came to salty snacks, the report found Lay’s was the most purchased item in Canada, however there was a surge in sales of Tostitos this year, which overtook Doritos in all regions except Atlantic Canada.
Coca-Cola was the top brand of carbonated soft drink, with Pepsi closing the gap slightly compared to last year, it says.
The survey was done via the Field Agent smart phone app, which pays consumers to collect information while in stores, at home or anywhere else 24/7. Users also serve as a consumer panel of sorts by which the firm can gauge spending habits for its retailer clients, Doucette explained.