The player-protest controversy in the National Football League (NFL) is hurting the sales of chicken wings – a game-time favorite among football fans.
“The only thing puzzling me right now is wings,” said Joe F. Sanderson Jr., chief executive officer of Sanderson Farms Inc. during a conference call to discuss earnings.
Sanderson Farms Inc. is one of the biggest poultry producers in the United States,
“It’s just been reported to us that some of our customers think that their traffic is down because of the demonstrations by some of the NFL players,” Sanderson said.
Wings boosted profits of processors like Sanderson last football season. But spot prices slumped in each of the last three months and are now 14 percent lower than a year earlier, according to one U.S. government measure.
Food sellers have differing views on how much impact player protests during the national anthem at NFL games have had on revenue. Last month, Papa John’s International Inc. said the NFL controversy hammered pizza sales, but Wingstop Inc. said it hadn’t seen any impact from waning football viewership.
The surge in the demand for chicken wings usually happens during the Super Bowl. According to the National Chicken Council, Americans were projected to eat 1.33 billion chicken wings during the last Super Bowl. This season’s football championship will be on Feb. 4.