Saturday, January 31, 2009
No Ding in Supply of Chicken Wings
Journal and Wire Reports
Don't fret, Albuquerque.
You'll still be able to lick that spicy sauce off your fingers after stuffing yourself silly with chicken wings this Super Bowl Sunday.
There's plenty of the game-day staple to go around, despite national media reports this week of short supplies and high prices.
Restaurants around town say they are stocked up and ready to feed hungry game-watchers. A manager at Buffalo Wild Wings said the restaurant has about 100 40-pound cases set aside for Sunday, and a manager at Wingbasket said it has 160 cases for its four restaurants in Albuquerque. And, no, they're not expecting to have to ration them out to customers.
Asked whether he was expecting a shortage this weekend, Don Lepine, general manager of Fox And Hound Pub & Grille, said, "Not us." The eatery is even offering a buy-one-get-one-free deal on wings up to 50 pieces.
Earlier this week, morning TV shows such as the "Today" program were warning wing lovers that they might have to do without this year.
Sure, wholesale prices for fresh wings are up to $1.51 a pound this week, compared with $1.24 last year. But as of Jan. 1, the poultry industry had 38.3 million pounds of chicken wings on hand, compared with about 40 million pounds a year earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"There's plenty of wings," said Richard Lobb, spokesman for the National Chicken Council in Washington.
For those keeping score at home, that will mean about 1 billion wings scarfed down over the Super Bowl weekend.
In the past week or so, some fretted that the spicy snack would be scarce for a number of reasons: the highest wholesale and retail prices in recent memory; an industrywide, economy-driven drop in production of 5 percent to 6 percent; a bankruptcy filing from major Texas producer Pilgrim's Pride, although it remains in business; and a push to sell wings by restaurant chains like Pizza Hut and KFC. Connoisseurs worried that demand would outstrip supply.
And chicken wings were indeed missing for a day from the kitchen of one Niagara Falls restaurateur, but that was by design. Owner Sam Musolino refused to serve wings at Sammy's Pizzeria on Monday to protest the annual price increases that arrive every year just in time for the big football weekend.
Lobb said the price is up because feed prices have gone through the roof and chicken producers have cut production as consumers have cut spending at casual dining restaurants that favor chicken dishes.