Sticky, spicy, savory, chicken wings have all the qualities that make a perfect game day snack.
But restaurants across the country are waving goodbye to this sports bar staple because of a bizarre chain of events. Concerns about unhealthy meat led to a change in the poultry industry that has lifted chicken wing prices to historic highs.
It all started when customers began to notice white stripes on their chicken breasts. It turned out the drive to raise bigger chickens had made their meat fattier, which left the telltale lines on the product. Customers were turned off by the fatty meat, and farmers noticed.
So they began to raise smaller chickens with healthier meat, but that only raised prices for chicken wings in the process. Wings used to be sold by number, but switched to a weight system once chickens became heavier.
Now that the average chicken is shrinking again, filling a 100 pound wing box is more work for farmers, and the price of your wings reflects that. While prices were $1.66 a pound in 2014, they're over $2.10 today, and even wing restaurants are considering taking them off the menu.
So where can you still satisfy your craving for wings?
While Buffalo Wild Wings still has wings on their menu, they've canceled promotions like half-priced wings on Tuesdays.
Many smaller restaurants feeling the pinch have been forced to raise their prices and some have stopped buying wings until prices level out. “It’s definitely affecting our business," one restaurant owner told CBS. "We’re at a crossroads where we don’t know what to do in terms of pricing.”
It's normal for wing prices to spike during busy seasons, like right before the Super Bowl. But wing prices are sitting at a historic high right now with no signs of dropping. Just like bacon and vanilla ice cream, we'll need to get used to higher prices from now on.
If you're itching to satisfy your wing craving but don't want to break the bank, your best choice could be to buy a whole rotisserie chicken - which is still fairly cheap - and enjoy the wings.
There are lots of other replacement snacks to enjoy on game day, so take this shortage as a chance to sample everything else life has to offer. If nothing but chicken wings will do, enjoy some now before prices get even higher.
Share this story with someone you know!