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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Regardless which teams play in the annual Super Bowl, which team wins, or what the final score is, the U.S. poultry industry and its grocery partners are among the biggest winners on Super Bowl Sunday each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service bureau.
Each year since 2006, USDA's Poultry Market News & Analysis Branch prepares a report covering promotional activity for selected chicken items by U.S. supermarkets, targeting the Super Bowl demand period.
As one of the biggest party days of the year, Super Bowl Sunday marks the peak demand period for chicken wings, a game day favorite. During this year's game, approximately 94 million viewers in the United States, and 50 million others around the world, watched the game and promptly served up trays of Buffalo-style chicken wing portions in a variety of flavors.
This year, circulars from nearly 18,000 stores in six regions of the continental United States were surveyed and information on price and the number of stores with features was collected for chicken items associated with game day ad promotions, including fried chicken, prepared wings, rotisserie chickens, wing platters, and fresh and frozen wings.
Based on the USDA/AMS poultry survey, nearly 96 percent of sampled stores featured some form of chicken, nearly 81 percent of which associated chicken directly with a Super Bowl-themed promotion. Once again, prepared wings were the most actively featured chicken item in the country, with nearly one-fourth of this activity concentrated in the Northeast, home of the two contending teams. The central United States, however, favors fried chicken, and once again led the nation in supermarket feature activity. Average feature prices for all sampled chicken items were slightly higher this year, reflecting the strength in the wholesale chicken market relative to last year.
USDA poultry specialists estimate that the nation's chicken industry produces nearly 11 billion chicken wings annually, about 42 million wings each working day. As a composite, on Super Bowl Sunday this year, some 94 million Super Bowl fans consumed 465 million wings, which yielded 930 million Buffalo-style chicken wing sections, equal to 11 days of production.
The impact of the Super Bowl on the chicken industry can also be seen in the market place, too. To wit: during the first Super Bowl 42 years ago, the New York wholesale market for chicken wings was 23 cents a pound vs. last week's $1.28 per-pound average -- a whopping 436 percent increase.
The full "Retail Chicken Feature Activity for the Super Bowl Demand Period" report is available free of charge on the USDA's Poultry Market News & Analysis Web site at www.ams.usda.gov/poultry/mncs/RetailReports/RtlChick.htm.