LONGWOOD, Fla. — On Super Bowl Sunday of this year, Americans consumed about 1.4 billion chicken wings.
What You Need To Know
- Americans ate about 1.4 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday this year
- Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, though, the chicken wing industry has taken a sizeable hit
- The shortage has caused the price of wings to nearly double since the beginning of the year
The U.S has the largest broiler chicken industry in the world. However, due to the pandemic like so many other industries the chicken wing industry is taking a hit and that could impact consumers wallets.
Papa Bee’s Owner Lorie Hamm doesn’t have a problem finding customers, or ringing up the register. Business is booming, but it’s not all good news.
“Our sales are probably better than they were before COVID but as in better, what’s better?” Hamm said. “The food cost is extremely high.”
According to the National Chicken Council, coronavirus outbreaks in meat processing plants, and a winter storm that impacted farms in Texas had a domino effect on the industry.
“You can only cut up or debone so many chickens in a day,” Rollins College Professor of Operations Management Dr. Kennan Yoho said. “Once that comes back online if you are not sitting on any type of inventory, there will be a back log.”
That backlog has created a weekly fowl bidding war.
“There’s 300 cases that are allocated for two counties I believe, they were gone in two minutes,” Hamm said.
Remember when @seminolecounty had to show the state how many vaccinations they were doing to constantly request more doses each week? Well, imagine that happening with your favorite chicken wing restaurant because, it's happening. Sales may be up, but margins are down. @MyNews13 pic.twitter.com/MrDtGaLb6h— Spectrum News Asher Wildman (@AsherWildman13) June 2, 2021
At the beginning of the year, a case of wings sold for $70-90 a case. Now they are about $150 a case.
Consumers are also seeing an increase. On average ten wings sell for about $11. Now Papa Bees is at $13.99 and that barely turns a profit.
“You can’t raise them too much, for the customers to the point they can’t afford it,” Hamm explains. “It’s supply and demand, you have no choice with inflation or you will not make anything.”
As more and more states continue to re-open, Yoho said pressure is on nearly every industry to catch up.
“You had a slow down, people brought down their inventories, now suddenly there is a surge in demand,” Yoho said.
Papa Bee’s has the demand, but it’s their bottom line currently getting cooked.
According to food suppliers the chicken wing industry is expected to continue to take a hit for at least two more months.
Papa Bee’s is working to stay out of the red is by simply outselling their competition. They are hosting a wing eating contest and hoping to host 1,000 customers for a special event on Saturday, June 12.