For the first time in the history of the National Football League, the Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions. As the confetti started to fall in U.S. Bank Stadium, pandemonium broke out through the streets of Philadelphia. The birds have finally won it all, but not all birds are celebrating, especially not the chickens.
On Sunday, Americans feasted on an estimated 1.35 billion chicken wings. That’s enough poultry to put 625 wings on every seat in every NFL stadium and an amount capable of supplying three rotations around the earth. It’s a Super Bowl Sunday record and a 30 million increase in consumption from 2017.
To put the national 1.35 billion chicken wing feast into further perspective, let’s consider the nutritional implications. The standard calorie count for one fried chicken wing is 81 calories, meaning Americans consumed roughly 109.35 billion calories over Super Bowl weekend. Perhaps Americans will soon break the record for the most post-Super Bowl weekend spin class subscriptions, yet experts believe this is highly unlikely.
The National Chicken Council (NCC) further indicated that 75 percent of Super Bowl Sunday chicken wings were purchased from restaurants, while the other 25 percent of wings were purchased from grocery stores. Since 2014, there has been an 18 percent increase in the amount of restaurants with the word “wings” in their name. Corporate wing joints, such as Buffalo Wild Wings enjoyed a 44 percent increase in sales throughout Super Bowl weekend, while other chains, such as Wing Zone, profits increased by nearly 25 percent. For chicken wing outlets, the Super Bowl is comparable to Black Friday. These guys don’t mess around.
Another report from the NCC, the annual Chicken Wing Report, indicated the demand for chicken wings is at an all time high. In order to satisfy such high levels of demand, the chicken industry, dominated by large corporations, like Pilgrim’s, Tyson, Sanderson Farms and Perdue, has had to double its production from 80 million to 160 million chickens per week.
There appears to be no indication that U.S. demand for chicken wings will decline any time soon. Though Super Bowl Sunday is by far the most widespread day of U.S. chicken wing consumption, the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Tournament runs a close second. With the tournament set to tip off March 11, one fact remains clear: it is a horrible time to be a chicken.