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Chicken wings on a platter

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Football fanatics in the United States are big fans of chicken wings at most Super Bowl parties. In recent years, consumers had difficulty finding their poultry at supermarkets. Even if they were successful, the wings were significantly more expensive. However, in 2023, chicken wing prices are low and inventory is high. It’s safe to say football fanatics won’t have to fly blind with chicken thighs or legs because wings are in stock. 

The Flight Pattern

According to Dennis Brothers, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System associate professor, chicken wing prices in 2021 and 2022 were at an all-time high.

“Prices for chicken wings in 2021 and early 2022 were at an all-time high during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Brothers said. “At-home demand for wings was high and inventory was low, but prices have plummeted below the prices of past years. This was the result of companies responding to a large demand and higher prices of chicken in general last year.”

Brothers, who is also a member of the Auburn University College of Agriculture’s Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology Department, said more chickens were produced to meet this high demand and take advantage of appealing market prices. An oversupply of chicken wings was the result.

“Every bird came with two wings or four wing pieces: two drumettes and two flats,” Brothers said. “The exorbitant price for wings in 2021 decreased the overall demand for them–specifically during 2022–and resulted in a glut of wings in frozen inventory and a drastic drop in price.”

What to Expect at Local Super Markets

Aside from Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl is one of the most popular food consumption events of the year. Many consumers are wondering what this shift in poultry prices means for their wallets.

The National Chicken Council–a national nonprofit trade association for the U.S. broiler chicken industry–estimates Americans will consume upwards of 1.45 billion chicken wings for Super Bowl LVII. Wings will have the lowest wholesale prices of the decade because of the oversupply. At the beginning of 2023, the national average price for wings was approximately 90 cents per pound. This is a large drop compared to mid-2021 when wings had a wholesale value of nearly $3.40 per pound.

Thanks to the price adjustment, this year’s big game should start a spike in chicken wing sales. Brothers said if inventory decreases, prices could be slightly higher in time for another first-quarter sporting event, the NCAA Tournaments.

“Super Bowl demand, which precedes March Madness, may reduce the inventory of wings enough to push the prices back in line with past averages,” Brothers said. “However, I do not expect a price increase anywhere similar to what was seen in the last two years.”

Just Wing It

Financially speaking, 2023’s Super Bowl will be the best game in years for gathering in front of the big screen to enjoy the game and some chicken wings. Look for frozen wings as they will typically be cheaper to feed those hungry crowds. Be sure to practice proper food safety when thawing the wings.

For more information regarding poultry or food safety visit Alabama Extension’s website, www.aces.edu.