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The New York Times reports this morning on the rising popularity - and cost - of chicken wings: “In seven of the last 11 months, wholesale wing prices have been higher than breast prices, a reversal in a market where breasts usually reign supreme. In September, the average wholesale price for whole chicken wings in the Northeast was $1.48 a pound, according to the Agriculture Department.” And in a reversal, boneless chicken breasts have come down in price and now are cheaper than wings.

The Times says that the recession is to blame: “Restaurants, normally big buyers of breast meat, slashed orders as millions of people cut back on eating out, and breast prices slumped. But demand for wings has remained strong, partly because people perceived them as a cheap luxury.”

What this means is that “boneless chicken wings” have grown in popularity - and that they have a price advantage for retailers because they actually are shaped and sliced chicken breasts. At the Buffalo Wild Wings chain, they represent 19 percent of sales, compared to 20 percent of sales generated by traditional wings.
KC's View:
Have to be honest here...while it makes perfect sense, it never occurred to me that the boneless wings at Buffalo Wild Wings (a new favorite of mine) weren’t actually wings at all. But I do love them...though I haven’t yet decided which sauce is my favorite. (Still have a few more to taste...)