Super Bowl boosts chicken wings prices but dip could be a bargain

As Super Bowl celebrations become increasingly focused on food over the last 10 years, prices for game day favorites rise and fall with fans’ demand.

In an annual survey, the National Retail Federation found a 15 percent increase over about a decade in the number of people planning to buy food and beverages for their game day celebrations, said Katherine Cullen, director of industry and consumer insights at the industry trade group.

“Food and beverages seem to be a really big part of celebrating today, even more than it used to be,” Cullen said. “It seems like there’s a lot of interest around prepping fun food and really making this an event through the food and beverages.”

American adults say they’ll spend an average of $81.30 on the Super Bowl, according to the NRF. The survey, which was conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, doesn’t break spending down into segments, but suggests food and beverage spending is on the rise. Nearly 7,400 adults were polled in the survey, which was conducted Jan. 2-9.

That increased demand may be bad news for shoppers who may find prices for in-demand fan favorites rising in the week leading up to Feb. 3, when this year’s game will be held. It certainly seems to be case for chicken wings.

Other categories that experience sales spike in the week before the Super Bowl include frozen appetizers, canned chili, frozen chicken, wing and hot sauce, dips, frozen pizza and tortilla chips, according to Nielsen data.

The price of chicken wings increases about 7 percent for about a week before the Super Bowl, according to Jayson Lusk, who heads the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University. For about a week following the game, prices fall 4 to 5 percent.

“Every time there’s a Super Bowl, about a week before, there’s an uptick in (wing) prices,” Lusk said. “That would definitely be consistent with an increase in demand around that time.”

The National Chicken Council estimates fans will eat 1.38 billion chicken wings throughout Super Bowl weekend, 2 percent higher than last year’s estimate. That amount of chicken wings is enough to put 640 wings on every seat in all 31 NFL stadiums, the NCC noted in a statement.

Those percent increases are based off of data from the last decade, but Lusk says the Super Bowl’s effect on chicken wing prices is present but “less pronounced” all the way back to the early 1990s.

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