Are McDonald’s Mighty Wings To Blame For Higher Chicken Prices?

Even though you can get chicken wings at any number of restaurants and bars across this great nation — and they are incredibly easy to cook at home — some people are still excited by the notion that they’ll be able to get “Mighty” wings from McDonald’s starting next week. But are these wings going to cause the price of chicken to soar?

Businessweek recently made the case that McDonald’s plan to sell some 250 million wings during the upcoming offering is going to have an impact on the rest of the chicken market.

McDonald’s began testing the wings last year, and one analyst figures that the fast food chain began stockpiling wings around 18 months ago, which is around the same time as the wholesale price of chicken wings shot up around 200% in just a few months, peaking in early 2013 (right about the same time as two men in Georgia tried to cash in on the crazy wing prices by stealing $65,000 worth of frozen wings).

Since then, the wholesale price has dipped, but is still significantly higher than it was two years ago.

Usually, when there is a high demand for wings, the price of breast meat usually takes a tumble, but in the last year-plus, while wing prices were high, breast prices were inching upward and recently spiked in the spring.

Businessweek has an answer for that, pinning it on the rollout of chicken-filled McWraps in the spring of 2013.

In response to these claims, McDonald’s would only say, “We manage our grocery bill like a portfolio and use a customized approach for every commodity. Commodities vary year to year and it is business as usual for us in that space.”

McDonald’s plans to end the Might Wings promotion in November, at which point football season will be in full swing, so expect the price of wings to stay high until at least after the Super Bowl. Then maybe get yourself a chest freezer for the basement and stock up when prices hopefully bottom out in the spring.