By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – There’s no need to go to your favorite store or restaurant on a wing and a prayer hoping to get some, well, chicken wings.
Despite recent reports that there’s a shortage of wings, don’t worry, area businesses said.
Andre Thomas, owner of Hammer’s Wings, is expecting another big turnout Sunday for the big game.
“We really do well on Super Bowl Sunday, and this year won’t be any different,” he said. “I’m coming in at 6 a.m., to prep, eat a little breakfast, then get going. I’ve got my first order going out at 10.”
While there’s no shortage of wings, Todd’s Big Star owner Bob Knight said prices are higher.
“They’re probably the No. 1 Super Bowl snack food,” he said.
In fact, Americans will chomp down on more than 1.2 billion wings this weekend, the National Chicken Council said.
“I remember when I first started in the business, nobody wanted the wing,” Knight said. “Now, you can’t get enough of them it seems.”
There are wing specialty restaurants like Hammer’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, of course, but wings have flown onto menus of nearly every other kind of restaurant, including Pizza joints.
“It seems everybody has them these days,” Knight said. “But a chicken only has two wings. The demand is so high, wings cost more per pound than boneless chicken breasts. I never would have thought that would happen.”
So how did the shortage rumor start? Back to the NCC, which said this year’s wing consumption actually will be 1 percent less than last year.
“Chicken companies produced about 1 percent fewer birds last year, due in large part to record high corn and feed prices,” said NCC chief economist Bill Roenigk in a news release. “Corn makes up more than two-thirds of chicken feed, and corn prices hit an all-time high in 2012. … Simply put, less corn equals higher feed costs, which means fewer birds produced.”
That got word going that a wing shortage would ensue.
But most people ignored or overlooked this sentence from the chicken council’s press release: “Roenigk adds that consumers shouldn’t worry about any shortage of wings on Super Bowl Sunday or any time soon.”
Jay Osgood with Buffalo Wild Wings in Tupelo agreed.
“We’ll have plenty,” he said.
Osgood said the restaurant sells 50,000 wings a week, but it has ordered extra for this weekend. In fact, a shipment arrived Friday afternoon in anticipation of high demand.
“We opened right before last year’s Super Bowl, so we have a good idea of what it’s going to be like this year,” Osgood said.