NEW YORK | In the U.S. each event has its matching comfort food: popcorn are for the movies; nachos and hotdogs dominate a baseball game and chicken wings are the Super Bowl hit. Next February 5 (the game’s kickoff) Americans will eat 1.25 billion wing portions. According to the National Chicken Council, that is 5 percent of all the 25 billion wings expected to be eaten in 2012. About half will be ordered from restaurants and the rest from grocery stores
Every year, the prices go up during the fourth quarter as restaurants start to stock up for Bowl-watch parties. Then, they peak in January. In Georgia, land of chicken producers, wholesale prices for wings sold by processors are up 52 percent in the past year, while whole birds rose just 6.2 percent, explains Bloomberg.
In Indianapolis, where the competition will be played, wholesale wings cost $1.96/lb, that is 50 percent more expensive than six months ago (estimation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture). Wingstop expects to sauce and serve 5.6 million wings on Super Bowl Sunday, an increase of 12 percent compared to 2011. Wing sales for the chain are 290 percent over the average Sunday.
“Production has been declining since May, and that means 2012 should be positive for the chicken industry,” after producers lost money on almost every pound they produced last year because of high feed costs, Paul Aho, an economist at Poultry Perspective told Bloomberg.
When the supply declines the price rises because demand is relatively inelastic: chickens only have two wings.