This Week in Retail: Wing Prices Take Flight Ahead of Super Bowl

Seafood feature volume advanced to 28% this week, taking the top spot across proteins in retail buying opportunities. Beef closely follows with 27%, while pork and chicken features claim 18% and 10%, respectively, of ad space. Egg features climbed to 13%, up from 7% the week prior.

At the seafood counter, catfish, cod, and tilapia fillets average $6.55 per pound, nearly 13% above year-ago levels. Cooked shrimp features are roughly 90 cents higher than a year ago, averaging $8.49 per pound. Raw shrimp is featured at $7.57 on average for various counts, down 8.4% from this time last year.

In the retail beef complex, 80% lean ground beef averages $3.49 per pound, up 7% from a year ago but lower than both boneless skinless chicken breasts and chicken tenders. The steak and roast complexes continue to maintain hefty premiums to year-ago levels. Steaks average $8.47 per pound, up from $7.19 per pound in 2021. Roasts are featured at $6.06 per pound on average, a nearly 34% YoY increase.

Compared to last year, the pork complex is generally featured at higher price levels. Brand label bacon features are up nearly 24% from this time last year at $6.59 per pound. The rib complex averages $2.87 per pound, up 26 cents per pound from last year. Pork chops are slightly above year-ago levels at $3.35 per pound on average. Pork roasts are up roughly 4% YoY at $2.68 per pound.

USDA reported total frozen pork stocks as of the end of December at 398.9 million pounds, the lowest level for that month going back to 1999. With tight frozen inventory to fall back on and reduced hog slaughter levels due to thin market-ready supplies and persistent logistical issues, retail prices for many pork items could remain elevated for the foreseeable future.

Rounding out January, grocers are eagerly looking towards Super Bowl demand. The anxiously awaited game will take place on Sunday, February 13th, giving retailers the next three weekends to showcase game-day fare.

In 2021, the National Retail Federation reported that American consumers planned to spend a total of $13.9 billion nationwide for the Super Bowl. The greatest portion of that spending was allocated towards food and beverages. NRF's Super Bowl survey for this year has not yet been released. While the ongoing pandemic continues to alter consumer purchasing behavior and could limit gatherings this year, fervent fans will likely still find ways to celebrate the game this year by stocking up on food and drinks.

Last year, the National Chicken Council projected that Americans devoured a record 1.42 billion wings during the Super Bowl weekend. Since the early stages of the pandemic, soaring wing demand has left many foodservice establishments scrambling to secure enough product. An unusual cold snap in the South killed chickens in February last year, adding to the lengthy list of supply chain interruptions.

A shift from sit-down restaurants to takeout eateries and QSR has boosted chicken wing consumption. Meanwhile, processing plants continue to face worker absenteeism and the resulting slowdowns in production and distribution. A mix of reduced placement figures, a volatile labor force, and active inquiries from retail and take-out establishments are supportive factors for the wing market.

According to USDA data, frozen wing stocks as of end-December totaled 73.2 million pounds. This was slightly below the month prior but up about 70% from last year. A rebound in frozen wing stocks relative to 2020 could help provide a temporary cushion for what could likely be another season of stellar demand ahead of the Super Bowl LVI.

Last year for the Super Bowl, wings were featured at an average of $2.70 per pound, up from the 2020 level of $2.55 per pound. This year, wings average $3.68 per pound YTD, up from $2.67 per pound in 2021. This week in retail, wings are featured at $4.37 per pound on average, a 46.2% YoY increase and a seasonal all-time high.

The retail chicken parts complex overall is priced 12% above year-ago levels, with boneless skinless breasts, drumsticks, and thighs featured at higher prices than a year ago. Breast tenders, leg quarters, and thin-sliced boneless breast are priced below year-ago levels.

To view this week's feature activity along with historical retail charts, subscribers can access the complete breakdown for the various meat and poultry cuts by clicking on the Retail Features option under the 'More' tab on the Comtell homepage or click here for Urner Barry's Weekly Summary

Par : Courtney Shum (27/01/2022)

Source : Foodmarket Newsletter (Urner Barry)

Image :