Tasty snacks and rugby ball on wooden table

COLLEGE STATION – The Super Bowl spike related to chicken wing consumption in the U.S. is an annual trend that stresses poultry production and inflates prices, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.

The National Chicken Council reported Americans will consume 1.38 billion of the unofficial game-day menu staple – the chicken wing – during Super Bowl LIII weekend, as the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots battle for the Lombardi Trophy Feb. 3. The estimate is 2 percent, or 27 million wings, higher than last year.

Dr. David Anderson, AgriLife Extension economist, College Station, said poultry production and price spikes leading up to the Super Bowl are a reflection of the incredible number of chicken wings consumed.

When it comes to Super Bowl Sunday, Anderson says most consumers focus their purchases on snack foods like chips and dip, hot wings and grilling meats.

As chicken wings continue to rise in popularity and demand, consumers should expect to see increased chicken wing and leg drumstick prices leading up to the Super Bowl, but possibly also see some specials on other game-day fare, Anderson said.

“With depressed prices on some meat and cheese, chicken wings look like the only product out there that will have that Super Bowl effect this year,” Anderson said. “The Super Bowl is the biggest sales generator for some individual businesses, but consumers won’t see an effect on prices like they will with chicken wings.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Livestock Marketing Information Center, the price of chicken wings rise dramatically leading up to the Super Bowl and fall after the big game. From 2013 to 2017, chicken wing prices increased 16 cents per pound from the beginning of January through Super Bowl Sunday.

Last year, wing prices increased to $1.78 per pound by Super Bowl Sunday from $1.68 per pound on Jan. 1.  

Anderson said large supplies of grilling meats like steaks and briskets and a surplus of cheese for Super Bowl queso dips will keep price increases in check and possibly provide room for specials at grocers.

Dr. Craig Coufal, AgriLife Extension poultry specialist, College Station, said the high demand for chicken wings causes an annual problem each year when the demand for specialty poultry products drives production beyond the normal supply. Boneless wings and chicken strips help, but chicken production and supplies are stressed each January by the greatly increased demand for wings and drumsticks.

“Wings are one of those chicken products that throws the production side off,” he said. “We joke that the only way to keep up with the demand would be to create a four-winged, four-legged chicken, but that just shows how much the lead-up to the Super Bowl and Super Bowl Sunday affects the chicken market.”

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