Based on data from Toast, Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) says chicken wing prices are “officially on a downward trend” after soaring during the pandemic.
And the prices aren’t just going down—they’re lower than they were before the pandemic started.
Wholesale costs of wings have dropped 39% from a high of $4.10 in the week leading up to the 2022 Super Bowl, based on fourth-quarter 2022 data collected by Toast, a digital restaurant platform, NRN reported.
“The pricing ease of chicken wings is also in line with what experts predicted for commodity costs in 2023,” NRN notes, “with chicken, eggs and dairy prices expected to come down a little bit.” However, beef will likely continue to “pose a pricy problem” for restaurateurs.
In August 2022, NBC News’ website noted that chicken wings were “at their lowest price since 2018, with the average wholesale price of a pound of wings falling to about $1.68 in July and trending even lower for August.” However, the price was expected to inch up as football season approached and demand got higher.
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At that time, NBC News said the price decline for chicken wings could be attributed to simple supply and demand. As restaurateurs began to substitute so-called boneless wings—essentially white meat dressed up as wings—for the real deal, “that allowed supplies—and prices—for bone-in wings to return to more reasonable levels.”
Poultry deflation allowed Wingstop Inc. to record an 8.7% rise in same-store sales in the fourth quarter that ended on December 31, according to a February 22 article by NRN. “We benefited from meaningful deflation in 2022, so we did not have to take price into account for the fourth quarter,” Michael Skipworth, Wingstop’s president and CEO, told investors in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call.