As cold storage inventories of chicken wings increased in late 2012 and earlier parts of 2013, buyers saw a lot of pressure on wing prices. However, the worst times for chicken wing prices may be over, Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith said during the Wells Fargo Securities 2013 Retail and Restaurants Summit on October 1.

McDonald's in September initiated a nationwide launch of Mighty Wings, a chicken wing product. In anticipation of the national campaign, the quick service restaurant chain began to keep its wings in cold storage, Smith said, creating a shorter supply of available chicken wings that put pressure on the prices.

"I think we saw a lot of that cost pressure in 2012, with sustained high wing prices - the highest we've ever seen," said Smith. "McDonald's has owned the whole bird. They used to sell their wings on the market, and they started saving their wings. Those wings weren't available, and I think that pushed the price up."


That price pressure continued into the first quarter of 2013, Smith added. However, Smith said the market has absorbed that pressure.

With strong pullet placements and eggs set in past month, the situation looks favorable for chicken supplies and for the Buffalo Wild Wings chain, Smith said.