Though a big event in the sports world and American culture, Super Bowl XLVIII didn’t score any touchdowns with distributors in the Tri-State region.
On Feb. 2, the MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J., played host to the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks.
“There was no big increase in sales,” said Matthew D’Arrigo, vice president of D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York Inc. “There wasn’t the slightest flicker.
This town’s just too big for a football game to affect our sales.”
The 150,000 people the event attracted pales in comparison to the more than 1 million people who every day commute to the metropolitan area of more than 20 million, D’Arrigo said.
“As an event, the Super Bowl parties, it could’ve been the Rose Bowl,” he said. “You may see an uptick in avocados for guacamole, but we’re talking really tiny little clicks on particular items. It wasn’t a measurable even for our business.”
RLB Food Distributors LP in West Caldwell, N.J., experienced its normal Super Bowl increase but no big extra influx in business, said Joe Granata, director of produce.
“Funny how many say the same thing, even the small businesses close to the Super Bowl,” he said. “One foodservice customer said he expected to get a big influx of business didn’t see it materialize. Business was good, but it wasn’t great.”
Though the National Football League estimates hosting cities experience a $500 million influx business, those in other industries outside of the food segment didn’t see much increase, Granata said he read in publications.
New Jersey restaurants closer to the stadium didn’t see that much business and Jeff Young, a fruit buyer for A&J Produce Corp., in New York, said he thinks the Manhattan ones likely did better because the city saw more visitors.
“I really think we just had an average week,” he said. “The avocados, baby carrots and celery moved well, but we didn’t really see certain items move better during that particular time. Because of the interruption in business, things were really hurt. It really wasn’t that big of a relief.”
Shoppers hosting Super Bowl parties helped New York-based Baldor Specialty Foods Inc. see some jumps in demand from its retail customers for fresh-cut products, including carrots and celery sticks, said Mike Muzyk, president.
“Interestingly, we didn’t see quite the spike we thought we’d see from it,” he said.
Baldor doesn’t serve sports bars, which may have seen some increased demand, Muzyk said.
“There weren’t any real effects,” said Mike Cochran, sales manager and vice president of Robert T. Cochran & Co. Inc., New York. “You’d think it would be big, but we really didn’t see anything from it.”
The event proved disappointing for Maurice A. Auerbach Inc., Secaucus, N.J.
“The big bump that we were expecting never materialized,” said Bruce Klein, director of marketing. “As it was going to be in our backyard, we were hoping for more of a substantial increase. Sales this year versus last year were better but we wanted a bigger increase.”
Coosemans New York Inc., usually sells many avocados before Super Bowl weekend but not this year, said Alfie Badalamenti, vice president.
“There wasn’t much action at all this year,” he said. “Avocados dropped rapidly. Every day, the price would drop.”