Chicken wing shortage worries local restaurant owners
The average consumer may not notice there is a chicken wing shortage this Super Bowl season. But it's a trend that has local restaurant owners concerned.
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DEPEW, N.Y. -- Nearly every year before the Super Bowl, chicken wing suppliers warn restaurant owners they're running low. But this year the situation's more dire than usual.
"It's estimated this past year there will be about 12 million less chicken wings on the market this year," the "Wing King" Drew Cerza said.
Thanks to a drought this summer, there was less corn, which meant less chicken feed and fewer chickens.
"Less supply, high demand, higher price," Cerza said.
Despite the shortage, Wegmans Grocery stores are fully stocked. The company placed its orders months in advance.
"For prices right now, we can expect them to stay the same through Super Bowl," spokesperson Theresa Jackson said. "Again, we never can really speculate whether prices fluctuate or consumer demand may drive more sales and we may suddenly see a rush of people come in and buy us out of chicken wings."
At Duff's in Eastern Hills Mall, they said they're trying to keep the price of chicken wings down too. That's becoming more and more difficult as the price from suppliers continue to rise.
"Just in the last six months, the price of chicken wings has gone up 20 percent and it's become very difficult to make a profit on that," owner Greg Duell said.
Although prices have been cyclical in the past, the owner of Duff's isn't sure they will drop anytime soon.
"After the Super Bowl, we're hoping the prices go down, but every day they keep going up so we're going to take a look at it and see where they go," he said.
"It's going to be an ongoing concern so I don't think this is a one-time deal," Cerza said. "I think eventually things can stable out, but as long as you've got disasters and tough economies, diesel fuel, prices going up, it's going to be a factor."
Meanwhile, more large restaurant chains are getting into the chicken wing game. That could mean even less supply for local restaurants in the future.