According to the National Chicken Council, the wholesale price of chicken wings will be the most expensive ever during Super Bowl XLVII, as demand rises and the supply has diminished.
Wholesale wings are currently at about $2.11 a pound, the highest on record at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, up 26 cents or 14 percent from a year earlier.
Wing prices — the highest priced part of the chicken — always go up in the fourth quarter of the year as restaurants stock up for the Super Bowl and prices usually peak in January during the run-up to the game.
But because of the increase in the cost of corn, as well as other factors, fewer birds (one percent, or 12.3 million wings) were produced last year, explains Bill Roenigk, chief economist and market analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based National Chicken Council.
“Chicken companies produced about one percent fewer birds last year, due in large part to record high corn and feed prices,” Roenigk said.
“Corn makes up more than two-thirds of chicken feed and corn prices hit an all-time high in 2012, due to two reasons: last summer’s drought and pressure from a federal government requirement that mandates 40 percent of our corn crop be turned into fuel in the form of ethanol. Simply put, less corn equals higher feed costs, which means fewer birds produced.”
A USDA report on the 2012 growing season indicate farmers harvested 10.78 billion bushels of corn, less than three-fourths of what the agency predicted last spring.
The National Chicken Council points out that chicken wings have become a staple food of Super Bowl parties in the U.S., and demand for them on menus is now at an all-time high leading up to the second biggest eating day of the year – Super Bowl Sunday — after Thanksgiving.
According to the National Chicken Council’s 2013 Wing Report, more than 1.23 billion wing portions will be consumed during Super Bowl weekend in 2013, as the San Francisco 49ers battle the Baltimore Ravens.
History of the Chicken Wing
Courtesy of the National Chicken Council
Deep-fried chicken wings have long been a staple of Southern cooking. But the concept of cooking wings in peppery hot sauce was born in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, when co-owner Teressa Bellissimo cooked leftover wings in hot sauce as a late-night snack for her son and his friends.
The boys liked them so much that the Bellissimos put them on the menu the next day. Served with celery slices and bleu cheese sauce, “Buffalo Wings” were an instant hit.
Dick Winger, who sold hot sauce to the bar, went on the road with Dominic Bellissimo, the owners’ son, to promote the item and sell hot sauce, and the item gradually caught on with restaurant operators around the country.
The concept hit the big time in 1990, when McDonald’s began selling Mighty Wings at some of its restaurants. KFC rolled out Hot Wings a year later, and Domino’s Pizza introduced its own wings in 1994.
They’ve remained hot ever since. McDonald’s is back in the wing business this year, currently testing its Mighty Wings in 500 Chicago-area locations.”
January 25th, 2013