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Pro Sports Routines Return: So Does Stadium Food Madness!

COVID is still a spectre out there But it’s considered by a majority to be pretty much under control now. Even if that means getting annual boosters. One tradition that definitely is back to normal is the football calendar – and NFL stadium food madness…

2022 NFL Stadium Foods - © 2022 AramakA tableau of some of the new NFL stadium foods being introduced by
Aramark catering this fall at 10 venues across the map. But ‘legacy’
dishes like burgers and hot dogs are also being preserved…

Have you missed the annual unveiling of the new, creative, often nutty NFL stadium foods every fall? I know I have. But I’ve also remained confident that the tradition would solder on, perhaps even stronger, once the U.S. pro football season got back to normal. And I was not disappointed.

Monopolization makes my job easier

This year, commercial mass caterer Aramark is the official concessions partner At 10 NFL stadiums. Its huge buying and marketing power has made it possible for the company to pioneer a new, extensive main menu, and a new self-ordering-and-checkout concept. But Aramark has also been able to preserve the fan faves of yesteryear like burgers and dogs (see photo, top of page) – a move that will allow it to please just about everyone. The master news release, out September 7, 2022, reads in part:

“Aramark Sports + Entertainment is excited to showcase the work of our talented culinary teams in developing new and buzzworthy food programs and creative concepts that provide fans with the best possible dining experience on game day,” said Alison Birdwell, President & CEO of Aramark Sports. “Headlining this season are innovative takes on traditional fan favorites, out-of-the-box dishes as part of our new Snack Hack program, and the latest advancements in self-serve technology that increase speed of service at concessions stands – getting fans back to their seats as efficiently as possible.”

On our menu today

Aramark has cooked up a long list of new stuff for your game day al fresco dining pleasure…

  • Crabby Cheese Puffs Mozzarella Sticks (M&T Bank Stadium): Mozzarella cheese breaded with crabby cheese puffs and served with crab dip. (Section 125)
  • DORITOS Corn Dog (Acrisure Stadium): DORITOS-breaded corn dog on a bed of DORITOS and served with nacho cheese. (Section 129)
  • DORITOS Empanadas (GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium): DORITOSencrusted empanadas with ground beef, onions, cheddar jack cheese, and avocado crema. (Section 111)
  • DORITOS FLAMIN’ HOT COOL RANCH® Chicken Sandwich (Paycor Stadium): DORITOS FLAMIN’ HOT COOL RANCH-breaded fried chicken topped with lettuce, tomato, jalapeño Chow Chow, Four Alarm Cheddar, and pickles, served on a hamburger roll. (Sections 112 and 142)
  • FLAMIN’ HOT® Nachos (Empower Field at Mile High): Raquelitas blue corn tortilla chips with FLAMIN’ HOT drizzle, queso fresco, and cilantro. (Stand 130)
  • FUNYUNS® Dusted Polish Boy (FirstEnergy Stadium): Split link brat topped with crispy fries, Duke’s® Mayo slaw, BBQ sauce, and FUNYUNS. (Sections 139 and 240)
  • Philly Jawns (Lincoln Financial Field): Dunkin’™ Macchiato Cereal crusted beef brisket and Monterey jack cheese croquettes served with Rita’s Wild Black Cherry Ice BBQ sauce. (Section 138)
  • Pork Rinds Corn Dog (Soldier Field): Bacon cheddar sausage dusted in crushed pork rinds and topped with Cholula® Hot Sauce and sriracha aioli. (Section 125)
  • Sugar Daddy® Brown Sugar Sandwich (U.S. Bank Stadium): Candied Sugar Daddy® bacon, coleslaw, and avocado spread served on a brioche roll. (Polaris Club)
  • Texas Firecracker (NRG Stadium): FLAMIN’ HOT fried pickles soaked in cherry- and blueberry-soaked Kool-Aid® served jalapeño ranch. (Section 121)

The news release also details the ‘new concession and restaurant concepts’, and legacy foods Aramark is offering.

My take

Aramark is at least matching, if not exceeding, the fast food sector’s level of innovation and creativity in its new menu and business model for the NFL stadiums.

One thing that doesn’t pass my smell test is, Aramark isn’t saying anything about what it’s planning to charge for its new creations. So I’m expecting a major increase over the previous era; of simpler (yet grossly over-priced) foods. $20-$25.+ burgers and dogs, anyone? $30. – $40. and up new menu items?

But I will temper my aggravation and cynicism with the observation that anyone who can afford a pair of tickets to an NFL game at a cost of $250- $350 and up shouldn’t complain about the food prices. Those folks are members of the privileged upper middle class (or an even-higher social stratum) who have not yet had to think about selling their gas-guzzling SUVs, their summer homes or boats, or draining their pools to make ends meet at the grocery store. Nevertheless, I will predict that their day will come – sooner rather than later…

~ Maggie J.