The official NFL season has barely started and already there is reason to cry: The era of cheap wings is over.
Prices for snack staples like wings, burgers and chips are shooting up following this summer's deep drought in the United States. The long dry spell has increased the cost of grain, which has caused poultry producers to slash output, Bloomberg reported.
Now wing prices have nearly doubled in the last year, and prices for other football-season snacks like corn chips, beef, cheese and beans -- e.g., all the fixings for nachos -- are also all up around 20 percent. All food prices across the board are expected to rise substantially this year because of the drought, economists warn.
Adam Lippin, founder of Atomic Wings, a franchise with 20 stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, told The Huffington Post that the price for a plate of wings at his restaurants has increased to $9.99, and even $10.99 at some locations, from $8.99 last year.
Even with the price hike "we're still not keeping up," said Lippin. In 2011, Atomic Wings paid $1.09 per pound, and Lippin said he is now paying around $2.15 per pound for wings.
The high cost of chicken is not only affecting consumers, it's also taking a toll on stock prices for restaurant chains like Buffalo Wild Wings, where wings account for nearly one-fifth of all revenue.
"This year, highest wing prices we've ever seen in a sustained level," said Sally Smith, Buffalo Wild Wings CEO in an earnings call earlier this year. "Now there's nothing to indicate that wing prices are going to change."
For football fans, it's not just snack prices that will be giving them sticker shock. Stadium ticket prices are also heading north. Average ticket prices are getting close to the $200 mark on secondary ticket-sales websites, according to Time's Moneyland Blog. The cost for a stadium seat is rising even as attendance to stadiums continues to decline.
However, the one thing that should please football fans: Televisions are cheaper than ever. In the last four years, TV prices have dropped more than 60 percent since 2008, according to the Consumer Price Index.
Despite the rising price for wings, Atomic's Lippin said that he has not seen any pushback from customers. Americans eat around 25 billion wings per year, according to industry data.
"There is something about sharing of the wings and social energy," Lippin said. "We do better in sports seasons. The further [the Giants or Jets] go, the better we do."
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