Spicy foods are taking over America. This year, salsa outsold the mighty American condiment ketchup and tortillas outsold hamburger buns, but Mexican food isn’t the only spicy food moving its way up on people’s favorite foods list. Chicken wings are also becoming as popular and common as the cheeseburger. The National Chicken Council estimated that 13.5 billion chicken wings were marketed in 2012. That’s about 43 chicken wings a year on average for every person who lives in the United States!
Increased Demand, Increased Prices
The increase in chicken wing demand for the most part only means that the price of chicken wings will probably rise. That means customers craving the heat will have to shell out a little more money to satisfy their craving.
Restaurants Embrace Chicken Wings
Technomic, which measures food trends, found that 22 restaurants added wings last year. That means that restaurants that have always focused on wings are going to have to diversify their menus to compete with these mainstream restaurants that now offer the favorite football treat. Even McDonald’s is trying out its new version of the wing, which indicates a mainstream acceptance of the food item. Their new “Mighty Wings” has just been released as a limited time offer for the football season. Although many people who prefer a traditional wing have said that these wings taste more like fried chicken rather than a hot wing, McDonald’s new addition to their menu certainly shows the growing demand for the chicken wing.
But classic wing joints should not fear. The added supply of chicken wings is only in a response to the huge increase in demand. The main events that people usually want wings for are sports events, watch parties and other parties. Fast food versions of this won’t be replacing the traditional wing joints versions any time soon.
The Rise of Hot Sauce
The rise in demand for hot sauce is also helping wing joints out by increasing demand for other items using wing joints classic sauce. Many wing joints are diversifying their menu by using the same sauce on different items. Some restaurants are even using the classic buffalo sauce on fancier dishes such as buffalo grilled shrimp. Other new varieties include mac and cheese with buffalo sauce, buffalo chicken salads, wraps, quesadillas and pizzas are also popping up on wing joint menus.
The Spread of Buffalo Chicken
It seems no menu item is safe from the spread of buffalo chicken. There are even recipes for buffalo chicken wing cupcakes, buffalo chicken lasagna, buffalo chicken cheese balls, buffalo chicken sushi (which seems like an oxymoron), buffalo chicken waffle sandwiches and even a buffalo wing soda. You might want to leave some of these to the diehard buffalo chicken fans, though.
Even with all this demand, don’t expect your local Buffalo Wild Wings to start serving buffalo chicken soda anytime soon just because McDonald’s has added to their competition. Don’t be sad, I’m sure the brave at heart can still order it online somewhere.
Sammy Jo writes for Willie’s Pub & Pool, a sports bar and grill serving up some of the best wings Columbia MO has to offer!