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Americans Ate An Estimated 1.35B Chicken Wings For The Super Bowl

Chicken wings with ranch

Last updated on February 5th, 2018 at 08:55 am

Fans flock to bone-in wings, choose ranch as No. 1 dipping sauce in new nationwide poll.

In its annual Chicken Wing Report, the National Chicken Council (NCC) projects Americans’ consumption of the unofficial menu staple of Super Bowl Sunday. NCC’s 2018 report estimated that fans would eat 1.35 billion wings during Super Bowl weekend, an all-time high. That figure is up 1.5 percent, or 20 million wings, from 2017.

“There will be no wing shortage,” said NCC spokesperson Tom Super. “Whether you’re a fan of the left wing or the right wing, there’s no debate about America’s favorite Super Bowl food. Although we do anticipate an uptick in chicken cheesesteaks.”

To visualize how many wings that is…

  • If 1.35 billion wings were laid end to end along Interstate 95, they would stretch from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, nearly 250 times.
  • That is enough wings to put 625 wings on every seat in all 32 NFL stadiums.
  • 1.35 billion wings are enough to circle the earth three times.
  • That’s 394 million feet of chicken wings—enough that a chicken could cross the road 13 million times.
  • Americans will eat 20 million more wings this year. If wings were dollars, that would buy only two minutes of commercials during the big game.

Fans choose sides

Fifty-nine percent of U.S. adults who eat chicken wings say they typically like to eat their wings with ranch dressing, according to a National Chicken Council poll conducted online in January by Harris Poll.  The survey asked which dipping sauces or snacks chicken wing eaters typically like to eat with their wings. They could choose more than one option.

Ranch once again is the No. 1 side or sauce typically eaten with wings, and its popularity has been growing steadily, up from 51 percent in 2014 and 56 percent in 2015. Only one-third (33 percent) like to eat their wings with blue cheese dressing.

The full rankings are: No. 1 Ranch (59 percent); No. 2 (tie) Buffalo/Hot Sauce (48 percent) and BBQ Sauce (48 percent); No. 4 Honey Mustard (35 percent); No. 5 Blue Cheese (33 percent), No. 6 Teriyaki Sauce (23 percent); No. 7 Sriracha (15 percent); and Nothing/”I eat them naked” (8 percent).

Wing eaters flock to bone-in wings

NCC asked wing eaters if they prefer to eat traditional, bone-in wings or boneless wings, and bone-in wings are widening the gap against their boneless cousin. According to the survey, 60 percent of wing eaters prefer traditional, bone-in wings while 40 percent chose boneless. In 2015, the spread was 54 percent vs. 46 percent, respectively. Boneless wings are typically white, boneless chicken breasts cut into strips, breaded or floured and tossed with Buffalo sauce.

This data parallels with recent research by The NPD Group, which found 64 percent of chicken wings served in restaurants are bone-in. Servings for the bone-in wings rose by 6 percent in 2017, while boneless wings declined at a similar rate.

For the full report and more information on wings, including their history, where Americans get their wings, wing recipes and wing prices, visit the NCC website.

The National Chicken Council is the nonprofit, trade association headquartered in Washington, D.C., that represents chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce and process chickens raised for meat. Member companies of the council account for more than 95 percent of the chicken sold in the U.S.

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