What’s your favorite Super Bowl Sunday snack?
Americans are expected to devour 1.42 Billion chicken wings before, during and after the game, enough of them so that the battle for the Lombardi Trophy could be renamed Chicken Wing Sunday.
Our love of chicken wings scores a touchdown every Super Bowl, and even during playoff season. And this Super Bowl LVI, between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams, is no different.
While wholesale wing prices are down 19 percent from their high last May, according to USDA data, retail wing prices are up about $0.30 per pound on average from the same time last year.
Retail prices of chicken wings are up
Why the uptick?
Like many things, the price of chicken wings, have increased because 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.
Greater demand and less supply adds up to higher prices, ultimately resulting in the highest inflation our country has seen in 40 years.
“Demand for chicken wings has been through the roof since the beginning of the pandemic,” says Tom Super, an executive with the National Chicken Council.
“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. I just wouldn’t wait until kickoff to be in line or order online.”
Chicken companies, retailers and restaurants have planned ahead for the Big Game.
To help meet increased demand last year, some chicken producers diverted birds traditionally marketed as whole birds for parts instead, like wings. In December, frozen wing inventory totaled 73.2 million pounds, up 70 percent from last year, which should provide some cushion.
Bengals and Rams fans have not only rallied around their teams, they’ve rallied around the chicken wing. Wing sales in Cincinnati have seen a 27.6 percent growth during the NFL playoffs and Los Angeles a 37.3 percent increase compared to the same period last year (Source: IRI, 4 weeks ending 1/23/22).
How do 1.42 billion chicken wings stack up?
According to the National Chicken Council, wings are the favorite Super Bowl Sunday food in 49 of the 50 states. Maine is the exception – where lobster is the top choice.
It would take 17,108 bitcoin to purchase 1.42 billion wings (as of 1/28/22, 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.