What do 49ers fans, Chiefs fans, and Swifties all have in common? They’ll likely be eating chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday! According to the National Chicken Council’s 2024 Wing Report, Americans will devour 1.45 billion wings while watching Kansas City and San Francisco battle for the championship trophy.

“Football is great. Wings are great. But they’re even better together,” says council spokesman Tom Super. “Sure, you can have your chips, your guacamole, your pizza. But when it comes to menus next Sunday, wings rule the roost. So, grab a wet nap and enjoy America’s favorite party food for the Big Game.”

To help visualize just how many wings that is:

  • 1.45 billion wings is enough for every man, woman, and child in the United States to eat four wings each.
  • If Kansas City Coach Andy Reid ate 50 wings every day, it would take him 79,452 years to eat all 1.45 billion.
  • 1.45 billion wings is enough to put 693 wings on every seat in all 30 NFL stadiums.
  • If laid end-to-end, 1.45 billion wings would stretch 1/3 of the way to the moon.
  • If each wing represented one second moving forward, 1.45 billion would be 46 years from now, or the year 2070.

This year’s projection is flat compared to 2023. USDA reports chicken production levels are slightly down from last year. Wing stocks in cold storage were down 13 percent in November compared to the year prior. This could explain the higher demand and thus the higher wholesale prices we are seeing on wings.

At the retail level, fresh chicken wing prices are down approximately 5 percent. Frozen wing prices are down 11 percent compared to January 2023, according to Circana data.

Here’s how we like our wings:

  • Americans are more likely to prefer eating bone-in, traditional wings (53%) than “boneless wings.”
  • When it comes to sauce – Americans prefer BBQ (52%), ranch (46%), and buffalo/hot sauce (41%).
  • French fries are by far the preferred side for wings (72%), distantly followed by celery (14%).

Why Wings?

The rise of the chicken wing and its correlation to American football all had to do with timing.

Cooking the whole bird was trendy in the 1960s and 1970s, but in the 1980s, U.S. consumers started preferring boneless-skinless breast meat, and wings became an inexpensive byproduct for chicken producers. Restaurants and bars realized they could charge low prices for the relatively inexpensive protein. Due to the spicy/salty nature of the sauce, they discovered that beer sales would go through the roof when customers ate wings.

At the same time, sports bars with multiple TVs and satellite dishes were becoming common in America thanks to rapidly developing technology. The most popular sporting event to watch with friends in bars is football.  Wings were easily shareable and affordable, a great “group food” to eat with other people, and were the perfect pairing with a pitcher of beer.