Demand for boneless chicken wings isn't creating the flap of the traditional style.
CHICAGO — As chicken wings continue to grow in popularity, bone-in wings are far more popular than boneless according to new research. 

According to NPD, the global information company, 64 percent of chicken wings served in restaurants are bone-in. Servings for the bone-in wings, rose by 6 percent in 2017, while boneless wings declined at a similar rate.

The study concluded that bone-in demand is outpacing supply, forcing many restaurant operators to increase the price for bone-in wings on menus. 

“Foodservice operators and suppliers offering chicken wings need to understand purchase patterns of wing buyers in order to menu appropriately, price accordingly and tailor marketing to grow in the headwinds of price increases,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD’s restaurant industry analyst. “Most wing buyers aren’t fair weather fans; they are super fans who stick with one type of wing regardless of price.”  

NPD's chicken wing research is based on its Checkout consumer receipt harvesting service. It examines the purchasing patterns of wing buyers and how restaurant operators react to changing wing prices. Wing prices increased during the summer while the demand remained high, but prices declined over the last three months of 2017. 

Year-end numbers in September 2017 for total chicken wings served reached 1.1 billion last year, up 1 percent from 2016. NPD also noted that fewer than half of bone-in buyers also purchase boneless wings.