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Industry News & Trends
on January 26, 2018

Americans to eat 1.35 billion chicken wings for Super Bowl

The National Chicken Council released its annual Chicken Wing Report on Jan. 25, which projects Americans’ consumption of the unofficial menu staple of Super Bowl Sunday – the chicken wing. NCC’s 2018 report projects that fans will eat 1.35 billion wings during Super Bowl weekend, an all-time high, as the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots battle for the Lombardi Trophy. That figure is up 1.5%, or 20 million wings, from 2017.

“There will be no wing shortage,” said National Chicken Council spokesperson Tom Super. “Whether you’re a fan of the left wing or the right wing, there’s no debate about America’s favorite Super Bowl food. Although we do anticipate an uptick in chicken cheesesteaks.”  

To visualize how many wings that is…

  • If 1.35 billion wings were laid end to end along Interstate 95, they would stretch from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., almost 250 times.
  • That is enough wings to put 625 wings on every seat in all 32 NFL stadiums.
  • 1.35 billion wings is enough to circle the Earth three times.
  • That’s 394 million feet of chicken wings – enough that a chicken could cross the road 13 million times.
  • Americans will eat 20 million more wings this year. If wings were dollars, that would only buy us 2 minutes of commercials during the big game.

Download an infographic of this data by clicking here

Fans choose sides

More than half (59%) of U.S. adults who eat chicken wings say they typically like to eat their wings with ranch dressing, according to a new National Chicken Council poll conducted online in January 2017 by Harris Poll. The survey asked which dipping sauces or snacks chicken wing eaters typically like to eat with their wings. They could choose more than one option.

Ranch is once again the #1 side or sauce typically eaten with wings and its popularity has been growing steadily, up from 51% in 2014 and 56% in 2015. Only one-third (33%) like to eat their wings with blue cheese dressing. 

The full rankings are: #1 Ranch (59%), #2 (tie) Buffalo/Hot Sauce (48%), #2 (tie) BBQ Sauce (48%), #4 Honey Mustard (35%), #5 Blue Cheese (33%), #6 Teriyaki Sauce (23%), #7 Sriracha (15%) and Nothing/“I eat them naked” (8%).

Wing eaters flock to bone-in wings

NCC asked wing eaters if they prefer to eat traditional, bone-in wings or boneless wings, and bone-in wings are widening the gap against their boneless cousin. According to the survey, 60% of wing eaters prefer traditional, bone-in wings while 40% chose boneless. In 2015, the spread was 54% vs. 46%, respectively.  Boneless wings are typically white, boneless chicken breasts cut into strips, breaded or floured and tossed with Buffalo sauce.

This data parallels with recent research by The NPD Group, which found 64 percent of chicken wings served in restaurants are bone-in. Servings for the bone-in wings rose by 6 percent in 2017, while boneless wings declined at a similar rate.

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