chicken wings

Study: Boneless vs. bone-in chicken wings?

Chicken wings continue to rise in popularity.

It’s that time of year when a lot of people hunker down indoors to watch sports and eat chicken wings. According to NPD Group, a leading global information company, just like sports enthusiasts choose a team, wing enthusiasts choose their type of chicken wing: either bone-in or boneless.

With 45% of the population ordering chicken wings at restaurants and foodservice outlets and servings on the rise, it behooves restaurant operators to know who is on team bone-in and who is on team boneless.

A new NPD study titled “The Chicken Wing Dilemma” found that the most popular type of chicken wing is ... bone-in.

“The demand for bone-in chicken wings is strong. More than 60% of wings served at restaurants are bone-in. Further, over the past year, servings of bone-in were up 6% while declining by a similar rate for boneless,” the company said.

The study, which is based on NPD's Checkout consumer receipt harvesting service, examined the purchase patterns of chicken wing buyers and how restaurant operators react to fluctuating prices for wings. Prices increased during the summer while the demand for wings was high, but prices have declined over the past three months. Boneless wings are more heavily promoted over bone-in wings when prices are high.

“Foodservice operators and suppliers offering chicken wings need to understand purchase patterns of wing buyers in order to menu appropriately, price accordingly and tailor marketing to grow in the headwinds of price increases,” NPD restaurant industry analyst Bonnie Riggs said. “Most wing buyers aren’t fair-weather fans; they are super fans who stick with one type of wing, regardless of price.”

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