Monday, 26 January 2009

Chicken Wing Boycott begins TODAY

Some of you might have been following the news out of the chicken wing capital of America, Buffalo, where there is a chicken wing shortage for the 2009 Superbowl. I won't go into details, as the CBC did it HERE for me, but it's sad news. The fact that prices have skyrocketed and 1 wing place is boycotting wings today is pretty bad.

But keep reading the comments at the bottom of the article, and its clear people don't understand the significance to us Canadians.

Sure, I don't care for the Superbowl. Last year I watched Klingons instead. But chicken wings are the de facto dish of the event, and any event that celebrates chicken wings I think I can get behind in some way or another. So my loyalties don't exactly lie with the sport itself. But there are elements of this event that I think is relevant to Canadians. The most important is that this could happen here.

A few years ago with the 'Asian Bird Flu' where chickens were culled in the thousands (if not more), chicken wings went into a shortage, and prices went up. I remember a local pub even explaining it to its customers. It was a terrible time. And the prices kept going up. Now, with our recession and other economic troubles, the potential cost of chicken wings could sky rocket.

I hate that it is common place for pubs and restaurants to charge $10 for 10 wings nowadays. It seems ridiculous, especially since it wasn't that long ago that that wings were just tossed out or used for stock. Now, while there is a surge of wing consumption related to the Superbowl and thus supply and demand is off at this time of year, really, more people are eating wings. Wings have moved from the seedy bar to the family dinner table. Yes more places serve wings, but with more people eating them, there are less wings out there than there used to be! And with crises like those in Buffalo, there is a fear that producers, middlemen and restaurateurs will take advantage and not jack up prices because of supply and demand, but to rip off the consumer.

Right now there should be a price war going on to get wing lovers into their establishments, because lets be honest, people spending money can only be good for the economy right? It's clear that I am not an economist, and I really don't understand economic theory (hey, I like Marx), but I fear those that will take advantage of us wing lovers. And beyond that, the wing market in Canada is not that strong. Having spent about a year in Ottawa, its clear it is hard to get a decent chicken supplier here, I can only think what would happen to others if the shortage was to spread.

Right now, there's no shortage here in Ontario that I'm aware of. I went to the grocery store yesterday and got wings. Yes they are not as cheap as they used to be (what isn't? I mean, things will always become more expensive), but we have them. And for that, I will appreciate every wing that I eat, because one day, there might not be any available. Or financially attainable. Then I will understand what many people in Western New York are feeling now.

Good luck Buffalo, my heart goes out to you.


Anonymous said...

Take heart dear wing-comrade:

I'm meeting with about 5 or 6 pubs this week and am making a point of getting their Calgarian angle on this so we'll see how supplies are, but Lilydale, who I think if Western Canada's largest suppliers hasn't said anything about the current state of affairs. Prices always go up around this time of year, so it's nothing new, but I think the fears in the NorthEast US are just getting overworked due to Pilgrim's Price going belly-up.

You're bang on with the point in your blog about this being a great opportunity for pubs to attract from customers by making sure they're offering the best deal they can on wings. We know they more than make up for it anyhow with the alcohol sales.

Clucker out.

Lord of the Wing said...

Thanks Clucker for the update!