Chicken Wing Prices Increase

Once discarded, chicken wings have risen in popularity—and cost.

August 03, 2017

SILVER SPRING, Md. – Chicken wings used to be the bottom rung of chicken parts, but a rising popularity in the bird wing has triggered a corresponding bump in cost, the Washington Post reports.

Buffalo Wild Wings pointed to “historically high wing costs” as partly to blame for its declining sales. “Traditional wings were … 6% higher than last year,” Alexander H. Ware, CFO for the chain said last week.

Demand for chicken wings is driving the soaring prices, as chains like Buffalo Wild Wings, BonChon, Wing Zone and Wingstop continue to draw in patrons. Even pizza chains like Papa John’s and Domino’s have added wings to their menus. Today, “wings are the most expensive part of the chicken,” said Erik Oosterwijk, president and founder of Fells Point Wholesale Meats.

At Fells Point, party wings (the entire wing) sold for $1.47 per pound in October 2006. Fast forward to February 2011, and party wings sold for $1.37 per pound, wholesale. January 2015 saw the wholesale price jump to $2.42 per pound. By January 2017, the price had skyrocketed to $2.68 per pound.

“People get tired of eating boring chicken breast,” Oosterwijk said. “Fat is back, and more people are starting to realize that.”

For more on chicken foodservice, read “A Fowl Mood,” from the July 2017 NACS Magazine.