The best part of the game? The pregame, of course. Legions of die-hard tailgaters put considerable creativity and effort into the party that happens well before it’s time to cheer on the team. Fresh-off-the-grill entrées, accompanied by cold beverages, are the two “must haves” of a successful tailgate. From there, the menu can expand into gourmet, global or strictly down-home.
“Tailgaters generally still crave all-American fare, like ribs, fried chicken, mac ’n cheese, and the like,” says Patricia Cobe, a menu subject matter expert for Technomic, a research and consulting firm servicing the food and foodservice industry.
When it comes to flavor, tailgaters love rich, spicy offerings. According to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, these are some trending flavors among popular pregame dishes:
WINGS: Buffalo, Spicy, Barbecue
NACHOS: Cheese, Sour Cream, Jalapeno
RIBS: Barbecue, Asian, Teriyaki
One trend to note, Cobe says, is the rise of bundled meal packages, offered for pregame pickup or delivery on-site. The growth of delivery services is powering the uptick in these tailgate meal bundles, she says: “Convenience is a big driver of the trend. Busy consumers are relying more on takeout and delivery, and bundled meals — packaged to go — fill the demand for convenient tailgate meal solutions that go beyond pizza.”
“Meal packages provide easy mix-and-match solutions for groups of tailgaters, jumping on the customization trend. By providing a selection of different items, like ribs, wings, etc. and a choice of sides, tailgaters can customize their meal. Most operators are also customizing the meal servings to fit the group, feeding anywhere from two to 12 or more people.”
Marzetti® dips and sauces are the perfect ingredient solution for flavorful tailgating fare. If you’re offering food that’s dippable — and when you’re tailgating, what isn’t dippable? — be sure to have plenty of Marzetti® Ranch Dressing on hand.
Create new flavor sensations with our +1 recipe inspirations. Take your favorite Marzetti® Ranch Dressing and just add one more ingredient to open up the flavor possibilities. Try Chili Garlic Ranch, Asiago Ranch, Jalapeño Ranch, Buffalo Ranch and more.
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