Football fans can expect lower prices on chicken wings this year as another consumption record is expected around Super Bowl LVII, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.
The National Chicken Council estimates 1.45 billion chicken wings and drumsticks will be consumed during the week leading up to the football game for the Lombardi Trophy between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. The record consumption estimate is 2%, or 84 million wings, higher than last year,
Chicken wings and drumsticks have become a favorite snack for sports fans during Super Bowl week, and David Anderson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist, Bryan-College Station, doesn’t expect that long-term trend to change.
When it comes to Super Bowl Sunday, Anderson said most consumers focus their purchases on snack foods like chips and dips, hot wings and pizza.
“Chicken wings are here to stay,” he said. “They’ve emerged from an afterthought cut of meat to a high value cut, and their popularity continues to be trending upward. I don’t see that changing.”
Chicken wings lead way for lower prices
Anderson said chicken wing lovers will be happy to hear wholesale prices are down significantly compared to record highs last year. Wholesale wing prices are $1.25 per pound compared to $2.66 per pound leading into the Super Bowl last year, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Services report.
Retail prices for wings are also down, according to the USDA’s retail poultry report. Whole wings are $3.30 per pound compared to $3.80 per pound last year; and party pack wings are $2.25 per pound compared to $3.13 per pound at retail.
Anderson said the price decline appears to be a direct result of supply and demand market forces. Historically high prices in 2022 on all cuts likely drove consumers to other meat options. At the same time, profitable prices on all cuts encouraged more production, which increased each month starting in August.
Wing demand began falling even sooner than other chicken cuts as record high prices turned consumers away. High costs led restaurants that specialized in wings to begin offering other cuts like thighs to maintain retail price points acceptable to consumers.
“Wing prices declined in 2022 and declined fast,” he said. “The high cost led to consumer resistance to buying them. So, that drop in demand and rise in production led to lower prices.”
Wings in cold storage were also up to 82.3 million pounds in December compared to 74.1 million pounds at the same time in 2022. The cold storage supply is at the highest point since 2018 and likely another factor in lower wing prices.
By Adam Russell with AgriLife Today.
Photo: Chicken wings are a go-to snack food for Super Bowl festivities. Lower prices could be an incentive for football fans to eat their part of the 1.45 billion wings expected to be consumed during the Super Bowl week. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Laura McKenzie)