WASHINGTON – America's love for chicken wings is never more apparent than on Super Bowl weekend. The National Chicken Council’s (NCC) 2022 Wing Report predicts Americans will eat approximately 1.42 billion wings while watching the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams fight for the Lombardi Trophy.
"There will be no wing shortage," said Tom Super, NCC spokesperson. "Like almost anything else you buy right now, wings might be a little more expensive, but they'll be stocked. I just wouldn't wait until kickoff to be in line or to order online."
According to IRI, the two cities represented in this year’s big game have upped their wing purchasing. Sales in Cincinnati grew 27.6% during the NFL playoffs and Los Angeles’ sales increased 37.3% compared to the same period last year.
According to US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, wholesale wing prices are down 19% from their high last May, and retail wing prices are up about 30¢ per lb on average from the same time last year. The increase comes from a combination of unusually high demand, record input costs, labor shortages that have reduced the supply of many goods, and government spending programs that have flooded the economy, according to the data.
"Demand for chicken wings has been through the roof since the beginning of the pandemic," Super added. "A shift from sit-down restaurants to takeout and quick service has boosted chicken wing consumption. Restaurants like wing joints and pizza places were built around takeout and delivery, and as long as people are sitting around watching TV and maybe drinking a beer, wings will remain in the game."
Last year, some chicken producers diverted birds usually marketed as whole birds to be used for parts to meet demand. Also, 2021’s end-December frozen wing inventory totaled 73.2 million lbs, up 70% from last year, which should provide some cushion.
What do 1.42 billion chicken wings look like?
- It would take 17,108 bitcoin to purchase 1.42 billion wings (as of Jan. 28, 2022, one bitcoin is $36,418).
- Assuming Molly Schuyler, the world record holder for eating 501 wings in 30 minutes, could keep this pace up – it would take her 162 years to eat 1.42 billion wings.
- If 1.42 billion wings were split between all the TikTok, Instagram and Spotify downloads in 2021, each individual could get 1 wing per download.
- 1.42 billion wings could circle the circumference of the Earth 3 times.