Americans' consumption of the unofficial staple of Super Bowl Sunday – the chicken wing – is projected to exceed a billion wings, according to a National Chicken Council (NCC) annual report.
NCC's recently released 2017 "Wing Report" estimated that Americans will eat 1.33 billion wings during Super Bowl LI weekend as the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots battle for the Lombardi Trophy. That figure is up 2%, or 30 million wings, from the 2016 report and is up 6.5%, or 80 million wings, from the 2015 report – revealing a steadily growing love for America's favorite Super Bowl menu item.
To visualize how many wings that is:
- If laid end to end, 1.33 billion wings would stretch from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., almost 80 times.
- It's enough to circle the Earth almost three times.
- Weighing in at about 166.25 million lb., those 1.33 billion wings weigh 338 times more than the combined weight of all 32 National Football League (NFL) teams.
- Eating two wings per minute, it would take an NFL player 1,265 years, 80 days, seven hours and 12 minutes to eat 1.33 billion chicken wings -- or a really long time.
Falcons vs. Patriots
When it comes to chicken wing consumption, the two competing Super Bowl regions are a close match. According to NPD Group, the northeastern U.S. – Patriots country – eats 12% more wings, on average, than other U.S. regions, while the South – Falcons country – eats 13% more.
Additionally, NPD data reveal that Millennials wear the chicken wing consumption crown, with wing eaters ages 18-24 consuming approximately 61% more wings than other age groups.
"Although we typically like to stick together with 'feathered' teams, we'll keep our projections to wing consumption and not the Super Bowl winner," Tom Super, NCC senior vice president of communications, noted. "With two pretty dominant wing-hungry regions in the game, this year's Super Bowl should be great for both football and chicken wing fans."
Where do Americans get their Super Bowl Sunday wings?
NCC estimates that of the wings eaten during Super Bowl weekend, 75% will come from restaurants or foodservice outlets and 25% from retail grocery stores.
Although the vast majority of wings eaten during the Super Bowl are purchased from restaurants, bars or wing and pizza joints, wing sales at grocery stores and supermarkets spike dramatically the week of the Super Bowl. Data also show that consumers mostly stock up the week before.