The recession has been a boon for many wing restaurants, the New York times reported, as many perceived wings to be "an affordable luxury." Now, that upswing in sales has accounted for a new dynamic: The wing-vs.-chicken breast price flip-flop for wholesalers and their clients.
From the New York Times:
In seven of the last 11 months, wholesale wing prices have been higher than breast prices, a reversal in a market where breasts usually reign supreme. In September, the average wholesale price for whole chicken wings in the Northeast was $1.48 a pound, according to the Agriculture Department. Yet skinless boneless breasts were $1.21 a pound.
A year earlier, wings sold for 94 cents and breasts for $1.15, and as recently as May 2008, skinless boneless breasts were selling for 57 cents more than wings.
The price shift is restaurant-industry specific. Restaurants cut back on the amount of breast meat they bought during the recession, devaluing it. But as eateries like Buffalo Wild Wings--which reported a 27 percent earnings jump in the first half of 2009--got more (budget-conscious) customers, wing purchases and wholesale prices shot up.
Grocers are still trying to keep higher margins on breast meat.

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