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Chicken wings market grows in U.S.: CHD Expert


Chicago – In the lead-up to Super Bowl 50 as restaurants plan their game-day menus, foodservice data and analytics firm CHD Expert evaluated the current chicken wing landscape in the United States to share trends and provide insights into the market.

As of December 2015, there are over 3,200 restaurants in the United States dedicated primarily to chicken wings. Approximately 31 per cent of these restaurants are full service and 69 per cent are classified as limited service.

According to CHD Expert’s foodservice database, Easy2FIND, over 300 new chicken wing restaurants opened in 2015, including more than 30 in December 2015.

Chicken wings have evolved over the past 50 years as home cooks and restaurant chefs experiment with new flavours and applied the principles of fusion cuisine to the humble chicken wing, CHD said in a news release. Buffalo Wild Wings made headlines in September 2015 after announcing a new wing sauce that lists Mountain Dew among its ingredients. The chain hopes to attract new, younger customers with bolder flavours.

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In 2015, chicken wing chain Wingstop, specializing in made-to-order Buffalo-style chicken wings and offering 10-plus wing flavours, launched its IPO and has plans to open 35 new units, according to data from Technomic. Emerging New York City favourite, Atomic Wings, recently became international with a restaurant in Mexico City, and continues domestic growth with plans to open in Baltimore and Springfield in 2016.

According to CHD Expert’s database, the top five chicken wing chains in the United States in terms of number of units and market share are Wingstop (44 per cent), Pizza Hut’s WingStreet (25 per cent), Hurricane Grill & Wings (six per cent), Wow Café & Wingery (four per cent), and Wing Zone (four per cent).

In its 2015 Wing Report, the National Chicken Council reported that 1.25 billion chicken wings were eaten during Super Bowl XLIX in 2015.

“Wings have evolved into a billion-dollar product and they exemplify how a food can inspire creativity and stimulate economic consumption,” said Cathy Kearns, general manager at CHD Expert, The Americas. “As consumers demand more wings on the menu, the entire supply chain feels the pull, and not just for poultry, but from cooking equipment to ingredients. There are countless variables that go into putting food on the plate and understanding these operators is invaluable for industry suppliers.”