HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — If you’re a chicken wing fan, you may have noticed prices going up at your favorite watering hole. But poultry industry experts say it’s not the result of a shortage.
“What we’re seeing is partly a supply chain issue and just an increase in demand,” said Caleb Hicks of the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association.
Some restaurants, including Below the Radar Brewing in Huntsville, which has experienced a 15 to 20 percent hike in chicken wing costs, have decided to eat the increased costs and not raise menu prices.
Broiler chickens, which is where wings come from, are big business for the state, which processes 22 million of the chickens a week and around 1.4 billion a year.
Hicks says the ongoing chicken sandwich wars at fast food restaurants have been a factor behind the spike in demand for the broiler chickens. The additional fast food restaurants are consuming additional industry supply, and helping to drive up prices.
Hicks says another contributing factor behind the price spikes is the packaging and shipping industry still trying to catch up to changing demand habits for wings, as the nation turns the corner in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The way that that’s packaged cannot be switched overnight, so it takes a little while for the change and shift in demand and for the market to catch up to it,” said Hicks.