Eating Wings This Weekend? You Might Have A North Carolina Farmer To Thank
Americans are expected to consume more than 1.3 billion chicken wings this Super Bowl weekend, and many of them came from the Tar Heel State.
That's an increase of 20 million wings over last year, and enough to circle the Earth three times.
In North Carolina, poultry production is the biggest slice of the state’s agricultural economy, generating tens of billions of dollars each year. But wings weren’t always so beloved.
Tom Super at the National Chicken Council – a trade group representing chicken processors and producers – says the humble wing has transformed from a byproduct into ranch-dipped gold.
"Producers, only a few decades ago, used to throw wings away," Super says. "But now, they’re almost a delicacy. Demand has been high."
In fact, Super adds that the number of restaurants with the word "wing" in the name has risen 18 percent in the past three years.
The traditionally lower-cost food also had a big pay off for producers last summer. Though the price has since dropped, the cost-per-pound of chicken wings hit a record high in 2017. And while it's possible that meant higher prices or reduced portion sizes for consumers, Tom Super says it also means chicken farmers – including many in North Carolina – had a healthy payday.