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Food inflation dips into Super Bowl spreads

TORONTO — As food prices stay hot, the chicken wings, pizza, party subs and snacks for your Super Bowl spread will come with a heftier price tag this year, whether you're ordering in, going out, or cooking at home.
Wings with cilantro sour cream dip and honey sriracha are shown in Concord, N.H., Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. As you plan your Super Bowl spread, whether you plan to order in or cook at home, prepare for a higher price tag on your chicken wings, pizza and drinks for the big day. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matthew Mead

TORONTO — As food prices stay hot, the chicken wings, pizza, party subs and snacks for your Super Bowl spread will come with a heftier price tag this year, whether you're ordering in, going out, or cooking at home. 

With December grocery prices up 11 per cent from a year earlier and higher interest rates eating into budgets, some businesses are preparing for a quieter Super Bowl Sunday.

Erin Gamelin, who owns Stout Irish Pub and Louis Cipher Brew Works in Toronto, said she won't be doing a Super Bowl menu or printing special tent cards for tables this year. 

With the impact of inflation and interest rates, customers are going out less and she isn't expecting the crowds she used to get, instead predicting people will make their own food at home. 

"It doesn't make sense to throw a bunch of money (at it) if people are just not going to come out," she said. 

To cope with rising labour and food prices over the past year, Gamelin has restructured her menus and raised some prices. 

At Pizza Nova, prices have also gone up in the past year, most recently in January, said president Domenic Primucci. Cheese, a key ingredient in Pizza Nova's pies, was up almost 10 per cent in December 2022 compared with a year earlier, and the cost of labour has risen as well. 

But Primucci is still optimistic about this year’s Super Bowl. Consumers may be cutting back on a daily basis, but he thinks people are still willing to shell out for big events, and expects Pizza Nova will see its usual uptick in sales on Sunday. 

“People still want to get together, and when you ... spread the costs with a few extra people, it's not as bad,” said Primucci. 

Meanwhile, some businesses have faced backlash for their prices ahead of the Super Bowl weekend. 

The owner of San Remo Bakery in Toronto had to fend off criticism he received online in response to the pricing of the cafe's Super Bowl special.

The bakery posted a rebuttal video to its Instagram page defending its $110 package, which includes pizza, doughnuts and a large deli sandwich and is meant to feed six people. 

Owner Rob Bozzo stands by the special, the price of which he said reflects the quality of the ingredients and the labour that goes into it, as well as rising costs on key ingredients. But he doesn’t fault people for looking for cheaper options in the current economic times.

“We're not in this business to gouge people,” he said. “I know how hard it is.” 

Bozzo said he tries to maintain reasonable costs for everyday necessities, and implement price increases elsewhere if possible, but he hasn’t fully offset his higher input costs. Over the year, his margins have got slimmer.

“Inflation has been really, really, really hard to adjust to,” said Bozzo. 

Some food products have been hit particularly hard by factors such as extreme weather, transportation costs, and the war in Ukraine. 

In fact, in 2022, the price of every single item tracked by Statistics Canada went up compared with 2021, except for canned salmon (which likely won’t help your Super Bowl plans). 

Bozzo said a 20-kilogram sack of flour now costs up to $30, when pre-pandemic it was around $12. One kind of oil the bakery uses more than tripled in price, he said. Meanwhile, with inflation and higher interest rates affecting his staff, his own labour costs have also gone up as he adjusts wages. 

Whether you’re cooking or ordering in, here’s how inflation may have affected some of the most common Super Bowl foods and drinks. 

The following inflation statistics are based on Statistics Canada CPI data comparing December 2022 to December 2021, except where otherwise noted.

Fried chicken

While Statistics Canada doesn’t track chicken wings specifically, the price of chicken has gone up by more than 11 per cent. However, you may be able to save some money if you’re making fried chicken at home by choosing specific cuts — the average retail price of drumsticks was around half the price of thighs in December. 


Many of the main ingredients in pizza went up in price over the course of 2022, starting with flour, which thanks to the war in Ukraine went up more than 21 per cent. Tomatoes went up almost 22 per cent, and even their canned counterparts saw higher prices, making pizza sauce more costly. The price of cheese rose almost ten per cent, and processed meats were up seven per cent. However, ham and bacon were only up 2.1 per cent compared with other processed meats, so that’s good news for anyone who likes Hawaiian pizza. 

Submarine sandwiches

With the price of flour skyrocketing in 2022, most bread products went up in price, and the soft white bread that’s the backbone of any extra-long party sub is no exception, with a 15-per-cent increase. 

The price of most meat has risen in the past year, including processed meats like the ones you’d find on many subs. Tomatoes are up, too, and as for lettuce? The price of lettuce in December was up almost 33 per cent, though most of that increase happened in November and December. 

Lettuce prices started to spike in November as a major lettuce-growing area in California struggled with a virus, heat and drought. The Retail Council of Canada says that supply has been improving, so the elevated prices may not last. 


Non-alcoholic beverages were up 16.6 per cent in December, while the price of alcoholic beverages purchased from stores went up six per cent. Cannabis is down 2.5 per cent.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2023.

Rosa Saba, The Canadian Press