Stadium food is getting more expensive


Sodexo Live, a restaurant and hospitality company, says food inflation is also reaching fever pitch

Courtesy of Seattle Sailors

Those peanuts and cracker jacks could soon cost you more at the base stage, thanks in part to food inflation, the CEO of a major hotel company told CNBC.

“No matter what industry you are in, everyone is noticing that prices are rising and scarcity is an issue in certain product lines,” said Belinda Oakley, CEO of Sodexo Live. “Of course, we were no exception to that.”

Sodexo Live operates food, beverage and hospitality services at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, as well as more than 200 sports, cultural and entertainment properties across the United States. contribute to mitigating some of the inflationary pressures.

Still, higher costs have forced Sodexo Live to get creative with its menus and food selection.

Sodexo Live is changing some ingredients, mixing suppliers and sourcing locally to help reduce costs and avoid passing 100% of price increases on to the consumer, Oakley said.

“It’s still going to be a phenomenal experience for the fan, but it might be more economical to make sure we don’t overprice them in the market,” she said.

At T-Mobile Park, the company is expanding the number of value menu items it offers, priced between $2 and $4, to a dozen items, up from seven last year.

One big item that could see sticker clash: stadium francs, which also happen to be a top-selling concession item for Sodexo Live. Oakley cited higher supply chain costs, including packaging and labor, for driving up meat prices.

Sodexo Live says they are trying to be more creative with their offerings to avoid customers having to pay more.

Courtesy of Seattle Sailors

Location is important, however, according to Oakley, and prices vary depending on your geography. The distance between a ballpark and a supplier can make a big difference, as can market prices. For example, if you look price last year for the average price of a hot dog – it was the most expensive on the west coast, with the San Francisco Giants charging $7.50.

“You’re going to see a higher cost impact in California than in Indiana,” Oakley said.

Another area that is under heavy price pressure, Oakley said, is plastics and disposables: food preparation materials that are transportable.

“The Russian-Ukrainian war had a huge impact,” she said. For example, the price of resin, a key ingredient in the manufacture of disposable products, was particularly affected.

But when it comes to pricing, the company keeps the long term in mind.

“We need consumers to continue to want to have these experiences outside of their daily lives and to use their discretionary spending to actually enjoy hospitality,” she said.

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