Within the U.S., Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest eating day of the year, behind only Thanksgiving. No food is more affiliated with the Super Bowl than the chicken wing, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Fifty years ago, the very first "Buffalo Wing" was sauced and tossed at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York.
A record 1.25 billion wings will be devoured during Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2nd, according to the National Chicken Council's 2014 Wing Report. That amounts to about 20 million more wings than were consumed during last year’s Super Bowl event.
The majority of those chicken wings will be purchased from foodservice outlets, including restaurants, bars, and wings and pizza operations. The Council estimates that of the wings eaten during the Super Bowl, 75 percent will come from foodservice outlets and 25 percent from retail grocery stores.
More than half (51 percent) of U.S. adults who eat chicken wings said they typically like to eat their wings with ranch dressing, according to a National Chicken Council January 2014 online poll administered by Harris Interactive.
While ranch ranks as the top side or sauce typically eaten with wings, it is down 6 percent from 57 percent one year ago. Barbecue sauce is the next favorite dipping sauce, at 35 percent. Thirty-two percent said blue cheese was their favorite, and 31 percent said hot sauce. Twenty-nine percent enjoy celery with their wings, while 17 percent give carrots a thumbs-up.
Northeastern wing enthusiasts are significantly more likely to prefer blue cheese dressing (45 percent) than those in the Midwest and South (both 31 percent) and West (23 percent), where ranch dressing is the lead choice.
The data reveals that more than four in five U.S. adults (81 percent) eat chicken wings, up two percentage points over last year. Consumption does not vary significantly by gender. Women (78 percent) are just as likely as men (84 percent) to roll up their sleeves, break out the wet naps, and eat a few wings.
Among those U.S. adults who eat chicken wings, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) say Buffalo wings are among their favorite flavors/styles, with 39 percent saying they prefer mild, 36 percent hot, and 8 percent "atomic."
Northeastern wing eaters are significantly more likely (74 percent) to prefer Buffalo style wings than those in the Midwest (63 percent), South (61 percent) or West (62 percent). Folks in the Midwest are significantly more likely (57 percent) to choose barbecue wings as among their favorites.
After Buffalo (65 percent) and barbecue (49 percent), another favorite flavor/style of chicken wings is breaded/fried, at 35 percent. Teriyaki (33 percent), sweet and sour (29 percent), and plain (28 percent) round out the poll.
By Joann Whitcher