Bone-in vs. boneless wings: The gap widens

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The popularity of chicken wings is still on the rise, but consumers’ strong preference for bone-in wings over boneless presents restaurant operators with some tough choices for managing supply and demand, according to new research from NPD Group.

The Chicago-based information company said many restaurant operators have been forced to increase bone-in menu prices, change their product mix or cut back on specials on wings containing bones due to skyrocketing costs for the product.

NPD said 64 percent of chicken wings served in restaurants are bone-in. Servings of wings containing bones rose by 6 percent in the year ended September 2017, compared with the prior year, while servings of boneless wings – which are made of cut-up and formed chicken breast meat  – declined by 6 percent.

Total servings of both wing products — at 1.1 billion servings — were up by a modest 1 percent in the period. Fewer than half of bone-in buyers also purchase boneless wings, NPD noted.

“The question that continues to come to the forefront is whether consumers will accept the higher prices of bone-in wings or switch to the cheaper option of boneless wings,” NPD said.


Source:, 1-11-18

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