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The National Chicken Council predicts a boom in buffalo wings.

Adam Campbell-Schmitt
January 29, 2018

The Super Bowl doesn’t have an official food item, like Thanksgivings obligatory turkey or Valentine’s Day’s box of chocolates, but if it did the front-runner would likely be chicken wings. The big game is the most wing-eating-est day on the calendar, and recent insights from the National Chicken Council (NCC) prove the poultry pieces are just as popular as ever.

According to the NCC, fans will consume 1.35 billion chicken wings during the upcoming Super Bowl weekend festivities. That figure would be an all-time high, besting 2017’s number by 20 million wings. While demand is high, NCC spokesperson assuages all fears of running out of drumettes, saying confidently “There will be no wing shortage.”

With so many people eating chicken wings, it’s also safe to assume that there are differing opinions as to just how they should be eaten. And the NCC’s 2017 poll proves just that: 59 percent of adults (who were allowed to choose multiple add-ons in the survey) prefer ranch dressing for dipping over the traditional blue cheese dressing. Buffalo or hot sauce comes in second at 48 percent, tying with barbecue sauce, following by honey mustard at 35 percent and blue cheese holding down the bottom of the top five flavors at 33 percent.

The majority of wing eaters also don’t seem to mind a little bit of work to get to munching. 60 percent said they prefer bone-in wings, despite the option of boneless wings becoming more available. That might be because boneless wings are actually just chunks of white breast meat, while the dark meat and bones in a standard wing are going to impart a whole lot more flavor.

So what does that staggering number of a billion-plus wings look like? If you filled every NFL stadium to capacity, each fan would get 625 wings to their self. It’s enough wings to circle the Earth three times. The 20 million wing increase for 2018, in terms of financial value, could pay for two minutes worth of those coveted Super Bowl ad slots. The NCC even quantifies it in classic chicken terms, submitting that the wings could cross a road 13 million times.

Chicken wings in the U.S. are an $880 million dollar industry for poultry producers, but don’t let that number scare you off from hitting the grocery store before kickoff. According to the USDA, chicken wings are currently just $1.56 per pound which is pretty low for this time of year. Looks like it’s time to heat up the fryer! Here are some delectable wing recipes to try this weekend.