The Broncos and the Seahawks aren't the only ones putting their blood, sweat and tears into Super Bowl Sunday. For chicken wings suppliers, the big game is also their most important day of the year.
About 1.25 billion wings will be consumed during Super Bowl XLVII, matching the record level set in 2012 and outpacing last year's 1.23 billion, according to the National Chicken Council. That's enough wings to put 572 wings on every seat in all 32 NFL stadiums.
"The National Chicken Council estimates about four percent more chicken will be produced this year compared to last," National Chicken Council analyst Bill Roenigk said in a statement. "More chickens mean a bigger supply of wings and more favorable prices this year for consumers. Based off of current supermarket features, consumers can expect to pay around five percent less than last January for wings."
Wings sales regularly grow during football's post season and spike the week of the Super Bowl, according to Nielsen Perishables Group FreshFacts data. Seventy-five percent of wings eaten during the Super Bowl will come from food service outlets and 25 percent from retain grocery stores, according to the National Chicken Council.
"We certainly plan for the Super Bowl year round," says Wingstop spokesperson Sean Stevens. The wings chain plans to sell over 6 million wings on game day, their biggest day for business of the year. For 13 years straight, Wingstop has sold more wings on Super Bowl Sunday than ever before in company history, breaking the previous year's record every year.
Despite the high demand, neither the chicken industry nor restaurants are concerned about wings shortages. Last year, the Super Bowl was plagued with rumors of wings shortages in the football post-season. However, though 20 million less wings were sold than the previous year, the panic ended up being mostly overblown.
"The 'Great Wing Shortage' of 2013, that never really was, is officially over," Roenigk said in a statement.
Even with assurance that there will be plenty of chicken to go around, restaurants have to take precautions to ensure that they'll be able to get wings to customers. Wingstop deals with demand by working with suppliers and taking orders ahead of time, making sure to get a time frame for customer pickup.
"We need to maximize every minute of the day," says Stevens. "We don't anticipate any issues."