According to the National Chicken Council's 2014 Wing Report, 1.25 billion wings will be devoured during Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, besting last year's total by 20 million.
That is enough wings to put 572 wings on every seat in all 32 NFL stadiums, NCC says.
Bill Roenigk, NCC's chief economist and market analyst, explains that consumption boost coincides with an increase in chicken production. That increased production is, in turn, linked to higher consumer demand and lower feed costs.
"The National Chicken Council estimates about four percent more chicken will be produced this year compared to last," explained Roenigk. "More chickens mean a bigger supply of wings and more favorable prices this year for consumers."
Residents of the towns supporting the two teams set to compete in the Super Bowl – the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos –have different chicken wing eating habits, NCC says.
In fact, Seattle residents are 44% less likely to eat chicken wings in general than the average resident of the top 42 U.S. markets, according to The NPD Group's CREST Local Market service.
In other towns that supported playoff teams, wing eating is above average. Here's a look at how the eight cities/teams that made it to the NFL playoffs divisional round stack up when it comes to eating chicken wings:
Above Average: Charlotte (Panthers): Eat 26% more wings than the average resident of the top 42 US market; New Orleans (Saints): Eat 21% more wings than average
Average: Boston (New England Patriots): 4% less likely to eat wings; Denver (Broncos): 5% less likely
Below Average: Indianapolis (Colts): 13% less likely to eat wings; San Diego (Chargers): 39% less likely; San Francisco (49ers): 48% less likely
"We quite possibly would have seen more than a 20 million wing increase this year based on this data, had the Panthers and Patriots made it to the big game," said NCC's Roenigk. "But with a team from Washington State and Colorado playing in the Super Bowl, the Council has high hopes that chicken munchie consumption will increase as a result."
Where do Americans Get their Wings?
The National Chicken Council estimates that of the wings eaten during the Super Bowl, 75% will come from food service outlets and 25% from retail grocery stores.
Although the vast majority of wings eaten during the Super Bowl are purchased from food service outlets, such as restaurants, bars and wing and pizza places, wing sales at grocery stores and supermarkets spike dramatically the week of the Super Bowl, and the data show that consumers also stock up the week before, too.
According to Nielsen Perishables Group FreshFacts data, both fresh and prepared wings totaled $1.7 billion in sales at stores covered in their system for the 52 weeks ending Nov. 30, 2013, an increase of 6.4% compared to a year earlier.
Ranch or Blue Cheese?
Even though the wings are the star of the show, they won't be alone. Wing-eaters often select ranch or blue cheese dressing as a dipping sauce.
More than 50% of U.S. adults who eat chicken wings said they typically like to eat their wings with ranch dressing, according to an NCC poll conducted online in January 2014 by Harris Interactive. Only about one-third, or 32%, prefer blue cheese dressing.
For the full 2014 Wing Report, including "Wing-onomics," buffalo wing history, 2014 wing consumption projections and how football and wings came to be connected, visit the National Chicken Council's website.