Ahead of Super Bowl, Chicken Wing Prices Have Flown to Record Highs

Super Bowl Chicken Wings
Super Bowl Chicken Wings

This is arguably the worst weekend of the season for football fans: It's the dead zone between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, with the only girdiron action coming in the form of the perennially underwhelming Pro Bowl. And now there's even worse news for football fans: Chicken wing prices are on the rise.

As it does every year, the National Chicken Council -- which, despite its name, is made up entirely of humans -- released its projections for chicken-wing consumption on Super Bowl weekend. Americans are projected to consume 1.23 billion chicken wings that weekend, down slightly from last year's Super Bowl total but still nearly four wings for every man, woman and child in the country.

But the real story isn't that all those chicken wings would stretch back and forth from Baltimore to San Francisco 27 times, as the Chicken Council excitedly reports. Rather, it's that the appetizer is more expensive than it's ever been. According to the Department of Agriculture, wholesale wings currently cost $2.11 per pound, up 26 cents from last year.

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"The wholesale price of wings will be the most expensive ever during Super Bowl XLVII as demand rises and the supply has shrunk," explains the Council in its statement. "Wings are also currently the highest priced part of the chicken."

So why are chicken wings getting so pricey? Blame the weather. Last summer's drought devastated corn crops, which in turn made it more expensive to feed livestock. (Corn makes up two-thirds of chicken feed.) The Council adds that we can expect prices to stay high even beyond the peak wing-demand season of the NFL playoffs.

Higher feed prices are also expected to impact pork and beef prices later in the year, so Buffalo wings are unlikely to lose their crown to a competing meat-based appetizer. But for now, your local restaurant might have trouble sustaining 25¢ wing night.

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Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.