US Chicken Wing Prices Flying High

Spend Matters welcomes a guest post from Nick Smith, at Mintec.

Super Bowl weekend is a huge event not only in the American sporting calendar but also in terms of food consumption. As a matter of fact, Super Bowl Sunday is considered to be the second largest day for food consumption in America after Thanksgiving Day. This means vast quantities of chicken wings, pizza, potato chips, dip, beer and various other snacks and drinks.

Always high on the menu are Buffalo wings - fried chicken wings coated in hot sauce. They get their name from Buffalo, New York where they were first created and are often served with either ranch or blue-cheese dressing. It is estimated that over 1.2 billion chicken wing portions are consumed over the Super Bowl weekend and account for 5% of the estimated 26.5 billion wing portions sold annually in the US. These annual demand peaks lead to price spikes, and current prices are at a ten-year high.

Chicken wing indicator

This year the price of chicken wings is soaring, having risen 10% just in the last month. The Super Bowl is coinciding with a time when supply is reported to be lower than usual. Last summer’s drought and extreme heat around the world led to an increase in the price of corn and other crops used in animal feed, which in turn put pressure on feed costs. This put a toll on chicken production, with the number of birds produced in 2012 around 1% lower than the year before. Increased production costs and lower chicken production has meant that in the US, wings are currently the most expensive part of the chicken.

Wing prices usually drop back down after the Super Bowl. However, with year-round demand on the rise and expected to stay strong, a significant drop in prices is unlikely.

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