Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Chicken Wing Prices Surging Before The Super Bowl

The history of chicken wings and American football goes back a long way. Buffalo-style wings, a popular snack, can be traced back to 1964. However, it was in the 1980s that wings became a common game-time food.

The National Chicken Council explains that the convergence of two trends brought poultry and football together. Americans began to shift away from whole chickens and started preferring lean boneless breast meat, making wings a cheap byproduct. Restaurants and bars started selling these inexpensive wings as satellite and cable TV technology provided in-house entertainment options, particularly in terms of sports.

The combination of spicy, salty snacks and hours of live sports coverage was a huge boost to beer sales and a winning combination that has stood the test of time. Today, chicken wings and football seem like a natural pairing. On February 12th, the annual tradition of eating wings while watching football will reach its peak during the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles NFL game for the Lombardi Trophy. Millions of Americans will be tuning in and eating chicken wings, and the National Chicken Council will soon announce their annual prediction for the number of wings consumed during the event. Last year, it was 1.42 billion wings, and this year the number is expected to be even higher.

However, the cost of these game-time treats will be higher than normal. The average national retail price for wings has increased by 7% in the past week and 56% since July 2022, according to the USDA, reaching $2.62 per pound. This is significantly higher than the record price of $3.25 per pound during the COVID-19 pandemic when people were demanding comfort food. The USDA predicts that prices will continue to rise in the lead up to the game.

Chicken wing prices tend to increase around the time of the Big Game due to increased demand, but the spikes in recent years have been particularly steep. Before the pandemic, the average price was $2.13 per pound in September 2017, but by January it was down to $1.56 per pound. Last year, however, the average price was $2.98 per pound.

The cost of other game-time favorites is also on the rise, with mozzarella sticks up 27%, jalapeño poppers up 9%, guacamole up 5%, and tortilla chips up 5%, according to a recent report by e-commerce company Pattern.

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