Americans may have to find another Super Bowl game day snack than chicken wings. Demand is up, but supplies are short. This news sent the country into a flurry of worry over the weekend as Americans made plans for next week’s Super Bowl game. Over the weekend and today, economists, grocers, restaurants and even sport’s anchors weighed in on the chicken-wing rumors.
The National Chicken Council’s 2013 Wing Report released a Jan. 25 press release saying that Americans might see fewer wings on store shelves and in restaurants for the Super Bowl due to a small decline in production. Whether this means an actual shortage is debatable, but it does mean higher prices and a spike in perceived demand (which may be the point).
A poultry and livestock economist says don’t get your feathers in a fluff. Tim Petry, a North Dakota livestock economist told US News and World Report that it’s supply and demand. The price will no doubt go up, which will right the excess demand. Americans are seeing a similar rise and fall with bacon – prices are higher due to shortages, which is slowing demand.
Is the announcement is meant to push demand, as pigskin fans around the country say, “Give me my wings.” Even ESPN’s Darren Rovell got in the chicken-wing game. “None of the major chain restaurants that we spoke to (Pizza Hut, Buffalo Wild Wings), said they wouldn’t have enough for the big game, but that’s not the case if you are going to be tossing wings yourself for your Super Bowl party,” Rovell wrote.
Today, grocery stores like Wegman’s say not to worry. They purchased wings months ago, long before the announcement, so stores are fully stocked. This is more about the bottom line that shortages. Even the National Chicken Council won’t use the word shortage and they’ve made similar claims in 2009 and 2010.
According to Petry, the wholesale price is .35 cents higher than the end of 2012, which may lend merit to his claim that this is more hype than reality. Most likely in order for restaurants to make a profit, prices will be higher. This false hype is the real game changer. Let’s give Americans one more thing to worry about on a day that is supposed to be about fun and games.
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