Chomping on buffalo wings about to cost consumers more
Feeding guests at your Super Bowl party could get a little expensive this year.
Why? The price of Buffalo wings has spiked 52 percent in the past year, and analysts expect that to continue. “The wings are really causing some issues,” said Bruce Reinstein, vice president of strategic development and sourcing for Consolidating Concepts, based in Boston. The company works with more than 15,000 small to midsize food service chains to help them plan their food supply purchases.
“Wings are the new, popular quick-service food,” Reinstein said, as the fast, casual landscape becomes more sports-bar oriented and demands a larger amount of wings. Plus, fast- food giant McDonald's tested bone-in chicken wings in a few Atlanta locations during the summer. If a national rollout follows, “they have so much buying power they will distort the market.”
Another problem: Poultry farms are producing larger and larger chickens, making the smaller wings and legs used for Buffalo wings few and far between.
The Buffalo wing isn't the only food item projected to jump in price next year, though it is one of the more dramatic upward shifts. Because of a drought that parched the Midwest last summer, prices of nearly every food product tied to corn will increase this year. And overall, household food prices are expected to rise between 3 and 4 percent, according to projections from the 2012-13 Food Price Outlook from the Department of Agriculture.
In addition to the corn, whose harvest was weak as a result of the drought, prices will go up on proteins, such as beef and chicken, because livestock feed is primarily made of corn.
The drought also affected wheat and soy crops, which will translate to higher prices on items such as bread and cooking oil.
Beef in particular will increase, analysts predict, in part as a result of the drought and in part because of a high demand for cheap meat cuts in restaurants — flank steak, and skirt steak, for instance — and ground beef, because of the popularity of hamburgers. Wholesale ground beef cost $1.71 per pound a year ago; now, it's at $1.89 per pound
“Companies are trying to keep costs down, so products that aren't as expensive per pound, they are very much in demand,” Reinstein said.
Prices are already higher than they were last year, but the impact of the summer drought will be felt most acutely in the new year.
“The impact of a drought takes time. There's still inventory of corn, but then the old corn is gone, you have to build it up. It's a cycle,” Reinstein said.
Still, not everything on your grocery list is getting more expensive. Sugar was cheaper in 2012, and dairy products in November were 1.1 percent below the average price a year ago, according to the USDA. But Reinstein is hesitant to make any predictions that prices will go down, at least until it's clear how mild or severe this winter will be. This past year, produce prices were down thanks to an unusually mild winter, but the market is likely to correct itself, especially if chilly weather hits key planting spots such as Florida and California.
“There's no way of really knowing if we're going to have that kind of luck again,” he said. “If we have any issues with weather, that will make information about produce more clear.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cheap oil can hurt economy
- Shareholder vote causes ATI to review executive pay packages
- Wal-Mart presses meat, egg suppliers on antibiotics, animal treatment
- Consumer prices rose in April for 3rd straight month
- Electric versions of Asian rickshaw paves their way into U.S. market
- Stocks end quiet week with loss
- Look for 1st rate hike this year, Yellen says
- Murray, Alpha notify West Virginia coal miners of layoffs
- 5 battles the ’16 Camaro needs to win
- Low price sparks sales run
- Pa. sees widespread job gains; jobless rate holds at 5.3%