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Chicken wing shortage in Mexico

Mexico’s National Union of Poultry Farmers has reported shortages of chicken wings in its internal market, resulting in the price of the cut jumping 25% compared to 2020.
With chicken wings in extremely high demand, poultry processors wonder how to profitably market the other cuts of poultry meat. Photo: Koos Groenewold
With chicken wings in extremely high demand, poultry processors wonder how to profitably market the other cuts of poultry meat. Photo: Koos Groenewold

The first reason for the peice hike is the increase in consumer demand for wings during the pandemic, and the second reason is the rising cost of feed, especially corn and soybean, seen around the world. This scenario affects all companies in the value chain, including Buffalo Wild Wings, Santas Alitas, WingStop, Wings Army and Wings Factory, as well as suppliers to retailers countrywide.

Not easy to meet demand for wings

Arturo Calderón, executive president of the National Union of Poultry Farmers, explained that demand for wings can’t be easily met by the sector: “All the behavior patterns of the agricultural markets were broken by the Covid-19 pandemic. A bird only has 2 wings and we can’t produce more because the demand for the rest of the pieces did not grow to the same level,” he said.

Chicken wings the ‘undisputed winners’

The temporary closure of pubs, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, concert halls and sporting events boosted demand for ‘ready-to-use’ products and, due to cultural factors, chicken wings were the undisputed winners.

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To the local press, Gustavo Barraza Miller, operations director at Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant chain in Mexico, pointed out that the lack of supply of chicken wings is worldwide. “The demand for this product climbed so brutally, that there is no capacity on the planet to cover this situation,” he asserted.

Calderón stressed that the high demand for wings in multiple regions causes its own headaches: “In a bid to cover its own domestic demand, the United States reduced its exports to Mexico, worsening the situation at this moment in time.” The executive expects the market will rebalance soon.