Soaring Price of Wings Begets Boneless Substitutes

Perplexed eateries switch breast strips for once-cheaper wings
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2009 10:36 AM CDT
Soaring Price of Wings Begets Boneless Substitutes
Richie Gonzalez makes chicken wings at The Back Page bar in advance of the Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008, in New York.   (AP Photo/Gary He)

In a sign of a poultry market apocalypse, chicken wings are now more expensive than skinless, boneless chicken breast, because chicken wings are cheaper. Wait, what? Strange but true: thanks to the recession, restaurants are ordering less chicken breast, the New York Times explains, while consumers buy more of the traditionally cheaper chicken wings. At wholesale, wings now cost roughly $1.48-per-pound, compared to $1.21 for the breast.

Poultry providers “are throwing up their hands and saying, ‘I don’t know what’s going on. We’ve never seen it this way,’” says the purchase manager for Buffalo Wild Wings. That chain now looks like a genius for introducing “boneless wings,” which are really just strips of breast. Almost all the other wing chains have now adopted them as well. But consumers are largely ignorant of the price shift; grocers are still charging more for breast. (More chicken wings stories.)

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