Why Your Super Bowl Chicken Wings Could Be More Expensive Than Ever

Bust out the chips, dips, sub sammies, and frosty beverages because it's time to return to that well-worn indent on the sofa to enjoy Super Bowl LVI and all the snacks that go with it. Football fans have been treated to some amazing games recently, and this year many will be relieved that they don't have to watch the Patriots win again. But the most exciting news of all is the return of the beloved chicken wing. Yes, the empty plates and unopened sauces of 2021 will be working overtime this year, but like everything else at the grocery store, they're going to cost you.

Would you like some Super Bowl with your chicken wings? The National Chicken Council (NCC) predicts that American's will eat 1.42 billion (yes billion, with a "B") wings while they watch the Rams and the Bengals battle it out on the field. According to Restaurant News, last year's pandemic-inspired diets created a demand for comfort foods like wings that took the chicken industry by surprise, but they have since recovered from that fumble. The NCC said that frozen wing inventory is up 70% compared to last year, with 73.2 million pounds stocked up by the end of December 2021.

The spokesperson for the NCC promised that finding wings won't be an issue in 2022, but consumers can expect to drop an extra 30 cents per pound over last year. The cost increase has been driven by high consumer demand, pandemic-related supply chain issues, and labor shortages.

Restaurants are also increasing chicken wing prices

Despite shortages brought on by the pandemic, people still want their chicken wings. And that steady demand is driving prices up everywhere from the grocery store to Wing Stop.

Zak Omar, CEO of Atomic Wings, told Restaurant Business that they have seen the cost of a case of wings go up by 100% since March 2020. Wing Stop was also affected by increased food costs and raised its prices by 10% in November 2021. Restaurant owners and retailers don't see prices going down anytime soon and predict that, like so many other unfortunate side effects of the pandemic, soaring food prices will be the new normal.

Even with these high prices, the NCC reports that wing sales in Cincinnati and Los Angeles have been steadily increasing since the NFL playoffs began, proving that the only thing coming between Americans and their Super Bowl chicken wings is dipping sauce.