Americans' consumption of the unofficial staple of Super Bowl Sunday – the chicken wing – is projected to hit 1.33 billion wings, according to a National Chicken Council (NCC) annual report.
NCC's 2017 Wing Report, released on Jan. 25, estimates that Americans will eat 1.33 billion wings during Super Bowl LI weekend, as the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots battle for the Lombardi Trophy. That figure is up 2 percent, or 30 million wings, from 2016's report – and up 6.5 percent, or 80 million wings, from 2015's report – revealing a steadily growing love for America's favorite Super Bowl menu item.
To visualize how many wings that is:
- If 1.33 billion wings were laid end to end, they would stretch from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., almost 80 times.
- 1.33 billion wings are enough to circle the Earth almost three times.
- Weighing in at about 166.25 million pounds, 1.33 billion wings weigh 338 times more than the combined weight of all 32 NFL teams.
- Eating two wings per minute, it would take an NFL player 1,265 years, 80 days, 7 hours and 12 minutes to eat 1.33 billion chicken wings. Or a really long time.
Falcons vs. Patriots
When it comes to levels of chicken wing consumption, the two competing Super Bowl regions are close. According to the NPD Group, the Northeastern U.S. – Patriots Country – eats 12 percent more wings on average than other U.S. regions, while the South – Falcons Country – eats 13 percent more.
Additionally, NPD Group data reveals that millennials hold the chicken wing consumption crown, with wing eaters aged 18 to 24 consuming approximately 61 percent more wings than other age groups.
"Although we typically like to stick together with 'feathered' teams, we'll keep our projections to wing consumption and not the Super Bowl winner," noted Tom Super, NCC senior vice president of communications. "With two pretty dominant wing-hungry regions in the game, this year's Super Bowl should be great for both football and chicken wing fans."
Where do Americans get their Super Bowl Sunday wings?
The National Chicken Council estimates that of the wings eaten during Super Bowl weekend, 75 percent will come from restaurants or foodservice outlets, and 25 percent from retail grocery stores.
Although the vast majority of wings eaten during the Super Bowl are purchased from restaurants, bars or wing and pizza joints, wing sales at grocery stores and supermarkets spike dramatically the week of the Super Bowl. Data shows that consumers stock up the week before, too, according to Nielsen Perishables Group FreshFacts data.