Archive for September, 2009

Chicken Wings Fly To Unheard-of Highs As Buffalo Wing Craze Rolls On

September 21, 2009

WASHINGTON – Sept. 21, 2009 – America’s taste for chicken wings has driven the wholesale price of the tasty tidbits to unprecedented highs, with wings actually selling for more than boneless, skinless breast, traditionally the highest-priced part of the bird, the National Chicken Council reported today.

“Wings are hot, hot, hot,” said Bill Roenigk, senior vice president and chief economist of the trade association representing chicken production and processing companies. “The demand for wings from casual dining restaurants, carryout stores, and retail groceries is extremely strong. Even export demand is adding to the market strength.” Some wingtips are exported, although very few whole wings are sent out of the country.

As of Monday, Sept. 21, wings were selling for a weighted average price of $1.48 per pound wholesale in northeastern U.S. markets, while boneless and skinless breast was selling for $1.13 per pound, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Poultry Market News Service. The spread of 35 cents per pound in favor of wings is unprecedented, Roenigk said.

“Wings have never outsold boneless, skinless breast on a sustained basis,” he said. Boneless, skinless breast has been the industry’s premier product, in terms of price, since it hit the market in the 1980’s, about the same time the boom in Buffalo wings got underway, Roenigk said. But breast meat has always commanded a higher price – until now.

“Boneless, skinless breast has sold for as much as 90 cents per pound more than wings, although the gap has narrowed in recent years,” Roenigk said. “In 2008, breast meat averaged 23 cents per pound more than wings.”

Roenigk said the runaway popularity of Buffalo wings as appetizer items, or even entrees, at casual dining restaurants is most likely the most important key to today’s unusual price situation. Also contributing is the growing popularity of restaurants that specialize in chicken wings. Texas-based Wingstop has more than 600 locations, he noted, and like several other wing concepts, is expanding while other foodservice chains are pulling back. The sale of chicken wings through pizza shops and delivery chains is also a factor, he said.

“People love wings more than ever,” Roenigk said.

Wing prices always go up in the fourth quarter of the year as restaurants stock up for the National Football League’s Super Bowl in early February. In January 2009, rumors circulated of an impending shortage of chicken wings, which proved to be unfounded.

NCC estimates that, in the year 2009, over 13 billion chicken wings (2.8 billion pounds) will be marketed as wings (as opposed to the wings on whole chicken or breast quarters). Of these, 9.5 billion wings (2.0 billion pounds) will be sold through foodservice channels. Another 3.5 billion wings (800 million pounds) will be sold in retail grocery stores.

The vast majority of wings, especially those destined for foodservice, are disjointed, with the third joint (the thin part known as the “flapper”) being exported to Asian countries and the meatier first and second joints (the “drummette” and the two-bone “flat”) being sold domestically. The actual number of wing portions sold is well over 30 billion since so many full wings are cut into portions.

The National Chicken Council represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce and process chickens. Member companies of NCC account for approximately 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.

CONTACT: Richard L. Lobb (202) 296-2622 ext. 119 rlobb@chickenusa.org

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National Chicken Cooking Contest Suspended After 60 Years

September 18, 2009

WASHINGTON – Sept. 18, 2009– The economic slowdown claimed another victim today as the National Chicken Council announced that the National Chicken Cooking Contest will be suspended indefinitely after 48 competitions over 60 years.

“The National Chicken Cooking Contest has been one of the country’s premiere competitive cooking events, but the economic realities facing our industry required us to take a hard look at all our programs, and unfortunately the Contest has been suspended,” said NCC President George Watts.

NCC continues to promote chicken, encourage greater consumption, and educate consumers about the advantages of chicken through other programs, Watts said. The Food Media Seminar that has been co-sponsored by NCC and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is unaffected by the announcement and will continue to be held, he said.

“We appreciate the efforts of the state associations, companies and volunteers who have hosted and run the contest in past years,” he said. “And we appreciate the creativity of the thousands of home cooks who have submitted recipes and those who have been selected to compete in the Cookoff itself. They have shown tremendous imagination and skill, and we hope they will keep on cooking.”

The National Chicken Cooking Contest traces its origin to a cookoff held in connection with the Delmarva Poultry Festival in 1949. The contest was held every year under the sponsorship of Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc., and grew over the years until it was taken over by the National Chicken Council in 1971. The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association has also been a co-sponsor of the event. The contest went from an annual to biennial schedule in 1983.

For many years, the contest culminated in a National Cook-Off in which contestants representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia cooked their dishes at individual mini-kitchens in a convention hall, with a grand prize that went as high as $100,000 from 2003 to 2007. The event rotated among cities in major chicken-producing states. The last cook-off, held in San Antonio, Texas, on May 2, adopted a regional format in which nine contestants from specified regions of the country competed.

The last winner was Brigitte Nguyen of Lexington, Kentucky, who won $50,000 for her “Chinese Chicken Burgers with Rainbow Sesame Slaw.” Her recipe and others from the 48th contest and previous contests remain available at the web site http://www.chickencookingcontest.com

The National Chicken Council represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce and process chickens. Member companies of NCC account for approximately 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.

CONTACT: Richard L. Lobb, (202) 296-2622 ext. 119 RLobb@chickenUSA.org

China’s “Anti-Dumping Investigation” Is Unjustified, U.S. Chicken Industry Says

September 14, 2009

WASHINGTON — Sept. 14, 2009 — The U.S. chicken industry said today that China’s announcement of an anti-dumping investigation related to U.S. poultry exported to China is unjustified.

“China’s announcement is obviously in direct retaliation for the U.S. action in putting tariffs on tires made in China,” said a statement from the National Chicken Council. “Charges of dumping of poultry products are completely unjustified. Our companies engage in normal trade with China, not dumping. We believe chicken is being targeted by the Chinese because of the concerns they have expressed over the provision in the U.S. appropriations act that prohibits the U.S. Department of Agriculture from determining China’s ability to ship fully cooked poultry products to the United States.” China has requested a dispute resolution panel from the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the appropriations provision.

The United States exported 436,544 metric tons of chicken, valued at $376 million, to China in the first seven months of 2009. In 2008, the chicken trade with China totaled 757, 786 metric tons valued at $682 million.

The National Chicken Council represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce and process chickens. Member companies of NCC account for approximately 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.

Contact: Richard L. Lobb, (202) 296-2622 ext. 119
rlobb@chickenusa.org

National Chicken Council Congratulates Senator Lincoln on Agriculture Committee Chairmanship

September 9, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, September 9, 2009
CONTACT: Richard L. Lobb, (202) 296-2622 ext. 119

“America’s chicken producer/processors congratulate Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas on her elevation to the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry,” the National Chicken Council said in a statement today. “We have worked with Senator Lincoln on many occasions and have always been impressed by her interest, concern, and knowledge of the issues. With Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia as the ranking minority member, the committee is being led by legislators with a strong interest in the poultry industry.”

The National Chicken Council represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce and process chickens. Member companies of NCC account for approximately 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.