Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Relax, Super Bowl fans: No chicken wing shortage here

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Breathe a sigh of relief, Canadian Super Bowl fans.

Or, more accurately, don't get your feathers ruffled.

It appears that fears of a chicken wing shortage in the U.S. -- raised due to loss of production caused by high corn and feed prices south of the border -- will not affect Canadians hunkering down to watch the Baltimore Ravens battle the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 3.

"Are you calling about chicken wings? We're fine," said Lisa Bishop-Spencer, a manager of communications for the Chicken Farmers of Canada.

Clearly, the Canadians had been keeping abreast of their chicken producing counterparts south of the border, where the National Chicken Council released a report this week saying the demand for wings will be "at an all-time high" this year, and the wholesale price of wings "will be the most expensive ever during Super Bowl XLVII".

"With the rising number of restaurants with menus dedicated to wings, the return of the NHL hockey season, the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament and then the start of grilling season, wing demand should remain hot," said Bill Roenigk, chief economist and market analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based National Chicken Council.

However, Lisa Bishop-Spencer said while Canada does import wings from the states, the supply in Canada, not exposed to the devastating drought conditions that hit the U.S. last summer, is status quo.

"There have been no reports of shortages at all," she said, from her Ottawa office. "You can enjoy your Super Bowl. You can enjoy your NHL."

Bishop-Spence did note that wings are hot this time of year. "We're passed the New Year's hors d'oeuvre stage and it's time for beer and wings."

The NCC report estimated that 1.23 billion wings would be consumed during Super Bowl week, 12.3 million less than last year. Urp. If those chicken wing segments were laid end to end, the report added, they would stretch between the 49ers Candlestick Park to the Ravens M&T Stadium 27 times.

randy.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 31, 2013 B7

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