Looks like us meat eaters are going to be in panic mode for the next week or so, due to the reported shortage of (GASP!!) chicken wings for February 3rd’s upcoming Super Bowl. How will we ever watch football without those spicy little bits of poultry deliciousness?
So why can’t we get our wings? Well, the National Chicken Council released a report saying that the demand for wings this year is at “an all-time high,” due to decreased chicken production. Basically, chicken production has gone down due to the high cost of corn prices. Chickens eat corn, but since there’s not enough corn to feed them, there’s not enough chickens for us to eat (aka even more evidence that the food system is our country is effed up and not sustainable).
Weirdly, I roasted a chicken for dinner the other night and found myself ruminating about chicken parts. I had just eaten some really good wings a few weeks ago and when I took my chicken out of the oven, I ate the wings right away. And there were only two of them. I mean, duh there were only two of them, but it really made me think about the legions of chickens necessary to provide wings to all the restaurants, sports bars and freezer cases around the gigantic United States. As Darren Rovell at ESPN points out, there are now 900 Buffalo Wild Wings stores and 550 Wingstop stores. That’s only two of the chains that provide chicken wings to their customers and that’s a hell of a lot of wings.
The council says that wing consumption this year will be about 1.23 billion wing segments, 12.3 million less than last year (about a 1% decrease). Not a huge reason to get up in arms, but apparently the shortage will affect home consumers more so than restaurants. Wing prices are about $2.11 a pound right now, and grocery stores have been reporting a very high demand for them, to the point that in some places they’re hard to get. Even so, Wingstop projects that its restaurants will serve 6 MILLION WINGS on Super Bowl Sunday alone. On just that day! Crazy. Kinda sick, too, and I say that as a person who eats and enjoys chicken wings.
Anyway, if you and your friends and family don’t want to left bereft and wingless as you watch the 49ers and the Ravens duke it out on February 3rd, get yourself to the grocery store early. If you’d rather not fight tooth and nail for frozen wings, there’s lots of vegetarian snacks, too, like our suggestions for somewhat healthy Super Bowl food (and if you need help justifying a meatless Super Bowl feast, don’t forget that even some football players are vegan, like Arian Foster). You could always just root for the Ravens, also: after all, as birds, they already have wings. (I’m from Baltimore, born and bred. GO RAVENS!!)