Tailgating is often as synonymous with football as the pigskin itself. Nationwide Insurance estimates 50 million Americans spend nearly $12 billion annually ontailgating activities. Furthermore, a 2011 OnlineColleges.net study found that 95% of tailgaters prepare food at the stadium, with most using a grillor smoker.  

Veterans and newcomers alike welcome any tools or strategies that can help deliverdelicious food safely and efficiently to party-goers; time saved on preparationand service can be spent enjoying the day. For retailers and processors, emphasizing how modern protein packaging innovations can drive gameday convenience iscritical to capitalizing on the opportunities football season presents.  

The Offensive Line

Vacuum Packaging

The gameday cooking setup presents unique challenges. Tailgaters must pack and transport their own equipment, including food stored inside coolers andprotective bags. With space at a premium, cooks must strategize how to move essentials from the fridge or freezer to the stadium unharmed.

Vacuum packaging delivers the best protection, freshest taste and most “cooler-friendly” format possible for meats often at the center of the gameday feast. Meats sealed in this fashion enjoy a tight, durable exterior more resistant to puncturing and leaking than traditional packaging. As a result, tailgaters can avoid exposing proteins to potential contaminants.  

Should tailgate plans change, vacuum packaging offers freezer burn resistance that allowsmeats to be safely stored for future use. Vacuum packaging also enablestailgaters to take advantage of promotions and sales, and purchase and storeproteins in bulk, earlier in the season.

The Coaching Staff

Pre-Portioning, Pre-Seasoning and Labeling

Convenience-friendlyprotein packaging makes preparation easier and enhances tailgaters’ confidenceto serve consistent, flavorful meals to their guests.

Inaddition to freshness, cooks can leverage individually-portioned, vacuum-sealedpackaging to purchase and prepare proper quantities. Individualized offerings such as Cryovac® Saddle Pack portion packaging for poultry come in alay-flat, easy-to-store format that demands less space than traditional family packs. Consumers can view the contents of each package and fill coolersaccordingly, reducing the amount of unused or uneaten food disposed at the endof the tailgate.   

Hands-free marination and flavoring packaging can save valuable time for any tailgater.Cryovac® Marinade on Demand®packaging, for example, stores proteins and marinades in a single bag. All the gameday cook must do is release the marinade inside the package prior to grilling, ensuring consistent flavor for featured entrees with minimal effort or guesswork required.

Theunconventional gameday cooking environment can raise questions about how to properly store, cook and serve meat. Fortunately, these answers can often befound on the product itself. Advancements in labeling technology, such as Cryovac® In-the-Bag Merchandising, enable processors to clearlyincorporate recipes and preparation directions on a product’s exterior.

The Trainer

Easy-open Packaging

With many traditional kitchen features unavailable at stadium workstations, tailgatecooks can turn to packaging to minimize preparation and service risks forthemselves and their guests.

Products that require less effort to open offer added convenience and reducecontamination. Easy-open alternatives such as Cryovac® Grip & Tear® bags make proteins accessible by pullinga tab rather than using knives or utensils. By leaving these tools at home, tailgaters not only save valuable space, but eliminate a common injury threatthat could also spread contaminants if reused after contacting raw meat. 

How has packaging enhanced your favorite gameday traditions?

Is your team currently participating in a seasonal retail campaign around football season?

What are some of your recommendations to help tailgaters of all levels prepare gameday meals?