Football fans who wait too long to snag this snacking staple for their Super Bowl parties may find themselves winging it come Feb. 3.
That's because demand for chicken wings is at an all-time high, according to a statement released by the National Chicken Council (NCC). The NCC projects that 1.23 billion wing portions will be consumed during this year's Super Bowl weekend. But some experts are saying that a relative dearth of chickens will make these wings harder to find.
Bill Roenigk, chief economist and market analyst at the NCC, said chicken companies produced "one percent fewer birds" in 2012 due to extremely high corn and feed prices.
"Corn makes up more than two-thirds of chicken feed and corn prices hit an all-time high in 2012, due to two reasons," Roenigk said. "Last summer's drought and pressure from a federal government requirement that mandates 40 percent of our corn crop be turned into fuel in the form of ethanol. Simply put, less corn equals higher feed costs, which means fewer birds produced."
Once considered a bar food, chicken wings have become more and more popular in peoples' kitchens.
"Now people relish them more than other piece of the chicken," Elizabeth Karmel, executive chef of Hill Country Barbecue Market in New York City, told ABC News. "I think that is because wings have a great skin to meat ratio, whereas on a bigger piece or different cut, there's not the sane delectable ratio."
The tasty snack, which many say was invented in Buffalo, New York, will be especially pricey in the Northeast. The NCC reported that the cost of wholesale wings has shot up to $2.11 a pound in the Northeast. That's up 26 cents from last year, making it the highest price on record at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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