More Things About Chicken Wings

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Yesterday's article about the absurd price of chicken wings certainly got a response.

Reader Mike Kramer wanted to know why, if the wings now cost more than the breast, restaurants seem to be charging more for boneless wings. "Are they losing margin on the real wings or just ripping off the customer who prefers white meat?" Mike asked.

Then I got a note from someone who really knows what he's talking about.

His name is David Maloni and he's the principal for the American Restaurant Association.

Here's what he had to say about wing prices:

My personal opinion is that chicken wings are an “event.” And “event” dining, especially relatively inexpensive “event” dining, will continue to do pretty well with a challenged consumer.

Capacity is still being reduced. Chicken production this year is anticipated to decline as an annual average by roughly 4 percent. This will mark the first annual decline in US chicken production in 34 years. Chicken exports are mediocre and chicken breast demand remains very soft, so even though we are experiencing record wholesale wing prices, chicken producer margins remain challenged which suggests that capacity may continue to be reduced.

Chicken wings may be the canary in the coal mine for other foods in the coming years. Beef production, pork production, and dairy production will all decline this year and likely next year as well.

Believe it or not, this is all traced back to inflated crude oil prices and the growth of bio fuels, especially ethanol, as inflated feed prices are really the impetus behind the overall food production declines and the major chicken producer filing for bankruptcy earlier this year.

Questions? Comments?