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Will There Be Enough Chicken Wings Available Super Bowl Sunday?

On Thursday, a story broke that some restaurants around Buffalo were experiencing shortages of chicken wings & very high prices, causing worry among owners and wing fans alike who are hoping the issues of the Northeast do not spread further through the country.

Damn right that’s a problem, as this weekend is of course the Super Bowl, a weekend that accounts for 5% of all wing consumption during the year, with over 1 billion wings eaten in all. That’s a lot of chickens that died for your sins.

The potential chicken wing crisis started when producer Pilgrims Pride filed for bankruptcy December 1st. Pilgrims Pride was responsible for 25% of U.S. chicken processing. Higher gas and feed prices have also led some farms to decrease production.

At the very least, this production shortage is affecting wing prices. This week, the Georgia Department of Agriculture quotes a price of $1.425 for chicken wings, well above the 2008 high of $1.27.

Some restaurant owners were even calling for a boycott of their suppliers, citing prices that have almost doubled. Forty pounds (of wings) would be like $85,  said Sam Musolino, owner of Sammy’s Pizzeria. Good luck getting football fans to boycott eating buffalo wings, Sam.

Naturally, the National Chicken Council has been doing some damage control over the weekend, telling everyone that there are no wing shortages, and everything will be just fine.

“Eat all you want. There are plenty more,” said NCC director of communications Richard Lobb.

If recent gas shortages can be held as an example, the National Chicken Council will have nothing to worry about. People will rush out to buy as many wings as they can so they will avoid a shortage, thus creating a shortage. So great marketing there, Chicken Council, there’s no better publicity than someone saying your product is running out.

Just make sure the Bear’s Lair is well-stocked, as that’s where I’m planning on watching the Cardinals against the Steelers. Or perhaps the deal with the Devil that got the Cardinals into the Super Bowl meant that Cardinals fans don’t get to eat wings during the game?

Chicken wing shortage ahead of Super Bowl [UPI]
Super Bowl wing supply is plenty, companies say [NWANews]

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  • Chicken Wing McCown

    At first I thought the chicken wing industry was recession proof. I can’t believe it has come to this.

  • Juris Naturalist

    Ummm…. why not just raise the price of wings?