The National Chicken Council (NCC), a non-profit group representing the U.S. chicken industry, predicts that more than 1.25 billion portions, or 100 million pounds, of wings will meet their maker Sunday as the New York Giants and the New England Patriots face off in Indianapolis.
"Wings are becoming the go-to snack for Super Sunday parties," said Jim Flynn, Wingstop president and CEO. The Texas-based chain expects that at least 5.6 million wings will be bought at their 500 locations across the country.
"The menu at a watching party has become almost as important as who wins the game," Flynn said. "Wingstop starts prepping for the big day months in advance."
The chain is expecting its 12th straight year seeing sales records topped on Super Bowl Sunday. On average, they see a jump of 290 percent in the number of sales they make on the day.
According to the National Restaurant Association, approximately 48 million Americans will get takeout or delivery for the game, while 12 million are expected to visit a restaurant or bar on Super Bowl Sunday.
The National Restaurant Association found that when it comes to game-day food, 63 percent of people thought chicken wings were a "must-have," topped only by dips or spread, which garnered 69 percent of votes from hungry fans. Following closely behind was pizza, which 61 percent of people said was a "must-have," then desserts and subs or sandwiches with 50 and 49 percent respectively.
According to a 2010 survey from SUPERVALU, the popularity of wings varies from region to region. Baltimore, Washington, Chicago and Philadelphia topped the list as the most wing-hungry fanbases.
"Restaurants and grocery stores have made wings a bigger part of menus throughout the year," said NCC Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Bill Roenigk.
Although chicken wings have long been a staple of American cuisine, particularly in the South, the ever-popular Buffalo wing wasn't invented until 1964 in Buffalo, NY. The spicy chicken eventually caught on across the country, especially after McDonald's started selling its Mighty Wings at select locations. KFC followed with their hot wings a year later, followed by Domino's Pizza, who added wings to their menu in 1994.
Throughout the year, the NCC estimates that more than 25 billion portions, or more than 3 billion pounds, of wings will be sold in the United States.
Super Bowl Sunday is surpassed only by Thanksgiving as the biggest day of food consumption in the U.S., according to the American Institute of Food Distribution.
TV consumption is high on Super Bowl Sunday, as well. Last year, the game broke its own record, set a year before, with a whopping 111 million viewers, according to The Nielsen Company.
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