WASHINGTON – According to the National Chicken Council’s Wing Report, Americans will tackle a record 1.42 billion chicken wings while watching MEAT+POULTRY’s hometown Kansas City Chiefs attempt to deep fry the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. This figure is up 2% from last year’s big game, in which the Chiefs deboned the San Francisco 49ers.
One reason for the uptick comes from the nature of how wings traditionally get into the hands of consumers, something that circumvents the effect on foodservice the coronavirus (COVID-19) has had.
“If you think about it, restaurants like wing joints and pizza places were built around takeout and delivery, so they didn’t have to change their business model that much during the pandemic,” said Tom Super, spokesperson for the National Chicken Council. “Wings travel well and hold up during delivery conditions. Plus, they align with consumer desire for comfort food during the pandemic. Chicken production remained steady in 2020, and as long as people are sitting around watching TV and maybe drinking a beer, wings will remain in the game. Don’t forget the air fryer revolution, either.”
What do 1.42 billion wings look like?
• Assuming Kansas City Chiefs’ coach Andy Reid can eat three wings per minute, it would take him more than 900 years to eat 1.42 billion wings, a challenge many with knowledge of the game believe Coach Reid would accomplish with the proper training regimen and medical technology.
• 1.42 billion wings could circle the circumference of the Earth three times, a distance Tyreek Hill covers in approximately 19 minutes.
• 1.42 billion wings laid end would stretch 19 times from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., just shy of Patrick Mahomes’ best throw off his back foot.
In 2020, servings of chicken wings increased 7%, the same percentage Tampa Bay has of beating Kansas City, despite an 11% decline in trips to commercial restaurants over the same time period, according to The NPD Group/CREST.
In addition, US wing sales for retail during COVID-19 totaled almost $3 billion, close to the amount of fines Buc’s defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh has paid for cheap shots after the whistle, up 10.3% from a year ago, according to IRI, March 15, 2020, through Jan. 17, 2021.
Finally, a recent National Chicken Council survey also reiterated that the pandemic didn’t keep people from their wings, much like Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski’s bromance can’t keep them away from each other, in fact one quarter of respondents said they ate more wings during the pandemic.