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10 Fake Scarcities


9
Chicken Wings
Rick Russo of Trappe, Penn., chows down on Buffalo wings during Wing Bowl 17 in Philadelphia. Wing Bowl, a competitive eating contest held Super Bowl weekend, was started by a local DJ who was tired of the Eagles never making it to the big game. William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
Rick Russo of Trappe, Penn., chows down on Buffalo wings during Wing Bowl 17 in Philadelphia. Wing Bowl, a competitive eating contest held Super Bowl weekend, was started by a local DJ who was tired of the Eagles never making it to the big game. William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

There are few things more American than the pairing of football and chicken wings. Media hype may be one of them. Every year around Super Bowl time, fans of the U.S. pastime and purveyors of deep-fried Buffalo, BBQ or just plain hot wings are swept up in a wave of giggly news reports about a chicken wing "shortage." The only problem is, it's not true.

The annual headlines scream something about how a run on wings leading up to the big game has drained the world's chicken supply and sent prices soaring [source: Daneman]. In 2013, the rumors stemmed from a report by the National Chicken Council (NCC), an organization that, yes, does exist, claiming that wing prices would be higher in the run-up to Super Bowl kickoff. According to the council, drought and ethanol production requirements led to a spike in corn and feed prices, which in turn made it more expensive to raise birds [source: Tuttle].

What the council didn't make clear is that it was referring to a potential rise in wholesale wing prices, though later it did say that since restaurants and grocery stores plan for this event in advance, the price increase doesn't get passed on to the consumer. Oh, and in the middle of the press release it reassures that "consumers shouldn't worry about any shortage of wings on Super Bowl Sunday or any time soon" [source: Tuttle].


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