COLLEGE STATION – A spike in chicken wing consumption leading up to the Super Bowl has become an annual trend in the U.S., according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.
The National Chicken Council reported Americans will consume 1.4 billion of the game-day menu staple – the chicken wing – during Super Bowl LIV this weekend, as the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers battle for the Lombardi Trophy Feb. 2.
The estimate is 1.4%, or 20 million wings, higher than last year.
Grub for the Big Game
David Anderson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist, College Station, said poultry production and price spikes reflect the incredible number of chicken wings consumed leading up to the Super Bowl.
As chicken wings continue to rise in popularity and demand, consumers should expect to see increased chicken wing and drumstick prices leading up to the Super Bowl, Anderson said.
“We’re already seeing wholesale prices above the five-year average, but we’re also producing more chicken than last year,” he said. “There is the annual bump from the Super Bowl, but I also think there are expectations for increased exports to China that may be driving prices.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Livestock Marketing Information Center, the price of chicken wings rise dramatically leading up to the Super Bowl and fall just after the big game. From 2013 to 2017, chicken wing prices increased 16 cents per pound from the beginning of January through Super Bowl Sunday.
Last year, wing prices increased to $1.91 per pound by Super Bowl Sunday from $1.56 per pound on Jan. 5. This year, wings were already at $1.86 per pound as of Jan. 18, up from $1.74 on Dec. 28.
“Wings and drumsticks are something that consumers have grown to love,” Anderson said. “The story in the short term is the way the Super Bowl drives demand and bumps prices, but the long-term story is that wings as a product found a popular following and have really taken off.”
Chicken wings’ annual trend
Craig Coufal, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension poultry specialist, College Station, said increased demand for chicken wings overall has caused an annual problem when the Super Bowl drives demand beyond normal production. Boneless wings and chicken strips help, but chicken supplies are stressed each January.
“It’s a standard trend now,” Coufal said. “They’re popularity as a party and fast-food item has taken the chicken wing to a different level. You’ve got poultry cuts that historically weren’t that popular that have, over time, turned into something valuable.”