People who work inside the poultry industry – as well as those who sell its products – are justifiably concerned about the present shortage of chicken wings.
But so are the consumers, including the one who I would consider the biggest fan of those who bring chicken to the dinner table.
You may remember Ander Christensen, the Nebraska man who took a special message to the Lincoln City Council. Christensen passionately spoke to the council – of which his father was a member – about how the phrase “boneless wings” should not be used, and the leaders of Lincoln should lead the charge in seeing what he saw as a misleading marketing term come to an end. He suggested the term “saucy nugs.”
After all, “boneless wings” aren’t wings at all.
We could have just laughed at what appeared to be a silly antic, but for some reason, I thought it would be worth talking to him. So I tracked him down and asked him if he would want to take part in a WATT Poultry Chat video.
It was one of the better decisions I’ve made since joining the WATT team. Turns out, he is not only a big fan of chicken wings, but the poultry industry in general. He became a viral sensation, gained a new identity as the Saucy Nugs Man/Dude/Guy and even has his own saucy nugs website.
Since that video chat in September, Christensen and I have stayed in touch via social media.
Months later, around the same time I wrote an article about the chicken wing shortage, and the CEO of Sanderson Farms’ perspective on that shortage, Christensen reached out to me with a message on LinkedIn.
He wanted to hear my take on this chicken wing shortage, because to him, “it’s a big deal.” He also expressed his concern for the farmers and others who work in the industry. I was happy he was so interested, and wanted to hear his concerns.
I wondered if he had seen the Sanderson Farms story, but when we later spoke on the phone, he hadn’t yet. He knew about the shortage, but it didn't really hit home for him until he was away from home.
While traveling, Christensen went to a restaurant in Bozeman, Montana, he said, and when he wanted the chicken wing special, he was told the staff couldn’t serve it because of a nationwide shortage of wings. Christensen said he had heard of the wing shortage in early 2021, but just figured that was seasonal due to the Super Bowl. Such a shortage should no longer be around, right?
So I referred him to the Sanderson story, and we talked about some of the other factors, including those related to COVID-19, that have played a part in the wing shortage. We both hung up our phones feeling the conversation was productive.
So often we hear people talk about the importance of transparency, and how the industry must share its stories. While my storytelling is normally through the written word, I tried my hand at telling it through the spoken word.
I’m not sure how serious he was when he said this, but he referred to me as his “inside guy.” While not all consumers may have as much notoriety as Christensen, I would guess if you are reading this you are in the industry and there are consumers out there that may think of you as his or her inside guy.
Take the time to talk to them. You won’t regret it.