Chicken Wing Prices Are Soaring Nationwide
When I began writing the Midtown Happy Hour column, I was incredibly excited to add in a Buffalo wing review. Wings became the cornerstone of my happy hour experience, and I began judging a bar, in part, because of their wing prices.
But I must lament, over the past month or so, I have noticed that wing prices are climbing. Over my 20-year wing-eating career, I’ve never seen prices like these. Even earlier this year wings seemed cheap. Lately, I’m having trouble finding anything under $10. (Notable exceptions are Smith’s Bar, with 75 cent wings and Vander Bar, with a $5 happy hour wings special). I have been doing some research, and indeed I found three articles written this year about the demand for wings and how it has been driving the price of wings up. Even Buffalo Wild Wings, who has been doing great in the stock market for several years, has been losing ground and has increased the price of its wings. Atomic Wings has also increased their prices, but a representative claims “we’re still not keeping up” — in 2011, wings were $1.09 per pound, and now they’re around $2.15 a pound.
Some articles I’ve read blame the rising cost of chicken, but The National Chicken Council gives a good synopsis on wing-o-nomics, and here was a line I found helpful:
A chicken has two wings, and chicken companies are not able to produce wings without the rest of the chicken. Therefore, the supply of wings is limited by the total number of chickens produced. When the demand for wings is stronger than the demand for other chicken parts, the price of wings will go up.
So basically we like wings better than any other part of the chicken. Tell me something I don’t know. I do find it quite interesting that several decades ago, before the wing craze caught on, they were “normally thrown away or used for stock”. Any genetic engineers out there thinking about creating chickens with six-plus wings, I wonder?
At any rate, I feel as though I’m being a little unfair if I continue to use Buffalo wings as a gauge on a bar’s reasonable prices. In the meantime, if anyone knows a bar where the wing prices are still low, let us know. And stay tuned for a end-of-the-year post on all the wings I’ve tried over the past several months.