As the warm weather rolls in and Americans prepare for summer barbeques and games days, they might just be shocked at the price of their favorite staple: chicken wings.
The prices of groceries have soared a shocking 14.3 percent, causing bigger shopping bills and inflated menu prices.
Jeff Good and Dan Blumenthal, the owners of Sal and Mookies – an NYC-themed restaurant chain in Mississippi – have been forced to sell chicken wings at market value – a menu discretion usually only saved for luxury items, such as lobster.
The popular menu item of a saucy basket of 15 wings retailed at $13.95 before the Covid 19 outbreak, but can now go up to $27.95 – or what Good estimates to be the ‘real cost’ of $34.
The restaurant menu now simply states that the wings are market price, and leaves the actual price blank, next to a note that states: ‘Due to national shortages, our wings prices fluctuate.’
‘We have never, ever seen anything like what we’re seeing right now,’ Good, who has been a restaurant owner for almost 30 years, told the Orange County Register. Good also said he is considering taking the item off the menu.
A 40-pound box of chicken wings used to cost them $85. But with food inflation up 9.4 percent – the largest increase since 1981 – huge consumer demand, and the supply chain crisis keeping wings in very short supply, the same box can now cost up to $150.
Chicken wing costs have soared as inflation continues to rise, with some restaurants being forced to sell them at market value
The owners of Sal and Mookies have been forced to put a note on their menu, indicating that ‘due to national shortages, our wings prices fluctuate’ as their wings costs jumped from $13.95 to almost $30
On top of that, restaurant owners are facing not only a price jump in chicken wings, but flour, cooking oils, meats, and dairy are also rising in price.
Prices are often jumping higher than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which will continue to effect consumer prices, which are measured in Producer Price Index (PPI).
Flour alone jumped 40 percent, oil 41 percent, butter 51 percent, and eggs surged a whopping 220 percent in the last 12 months, according to the National Restaurant Association.
In addition, Good and Blumenthal are facing rising labor costs, as well as unexpected new charges, such as a $40 fuel charge per visit for the three locations air conditioners.
Good told the Orange County Register that to cope with rising inflation, he had to raise menu prices. The average menu price in the US soared 7.2 percent within the last year.
Unlike small businesses, who are forced to change their prices much faster, big chains can oftentimes hold on a little longer before increasing value. However, fast-food chain Wendy’s had to raise fan favorite menu items, such as the Baconator and the Dave’s Double.
Sal and Mookies owners Jeff Good and Dan Blumenthal (pictured together) said the real cost of their ‘real cost’ for chicken wings are $34, as flour and oil are also up and they’re debating taking the item off the menu
‘Eventually, they will need to increase prices,’ CEO of Food Institute Brain Choi told the Orange County Register. ‘There’s a lot of inflation yet to come.’
‘Businesses will do as much as they can to squeeze margins and not pass along higher costs from producers if they see chances that prices will soon reverse, however, they will eventually need to pass those price hikes along,’ Chief Commodities Economist for StoneX, Arlan Suderman, told the Orange County Register.
Since PPI is rising faster than CPI, consumers could continue to see a ‘sizable hikes’ in food costs in the coming months.
In addition, not only are consumers and businesses face price hikes, but so are the farmers. Fertilizer is hard to get, gas for equipment is sky high, and an outbreak of the bird flu killed almost 10 percent of the country’s egg-laying hens. Food distributors are seeing inflation rates in the teens, according to the Orange County Register.
The less farmers are able to produce, the higher the prices will be driven up, on top of inflation.
The Biden administration had previously claimed that the war in Ukraine was causing inflation and gas prices to soar – despite both rising prior to Russia’s invasion.
Rather than corporate taxes, interest rates have been eyed by many economic experts as the key figure to reign in to bring down inflation.
The Federal Reserve has begun raising interest rates to slow borrowing and spending enough to cool inflation, following the cheap money era ushered in by the pandemic.
‘Inflation is much too high, and we understand the hardship it is causing, and we are moving expeditiously to bring it back down,’ Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said on earlier this week.
Food inflation is up 9.4 percent, with popular items like bacon up 17 percent and beef up 14 percent
Inflation began to soar in April 2021, and has since risen to above eight percent
In an interview with Marketplace, he was asked what he would say to someone who will lose their job or missed out on a pay rise as the Fed tried to choke off inflationary spending.
‘So I would say that we fully understand and appreciate how painful inflation is, and that we have the tools and the resolve to get it down to two percent, and that we’re going to do that.
‘I will also say that the process of getting inflation down to two percent will also include some pain, but ultimately the most painful thing would be if we were to fail to deal with it and inflation were to get entrenched in the economy at high levels, and we know what that’s like.
‘And that’s just people losing the value of their paycheck to high inflation and, ultimately, we’d have to go through a much deeper downturn. And so we really need to avoid that.’
The Labor Department’s report on May 11 said that the consumer price index increased 0.3 percent in April from the month before, for a 8.3 percent gain from a year ago, compared to March’s 8.5 percent increase.
Gas is also up, which is harming farmers who are harvesting food restaurants and consumers need, which is also driving up food prices
The food index increased 9.4 percent from last year, the largest 12-month increase since 1981, and the energy index soared 30.3 percent from a year ago.
Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called ‘core’ inflation hit 6.3 percent in the 12 months ending in April, down slightly from March’s annual rate of 6.5 percent.
However, in a troubling sign inflation is becoming more entrenched, core prices jumped 0.6 percent from March to April – twice the 0.3 percent rise from February to March.
Those increases were fueled by spiking prices for airline tickets, hotel rooms and new cars. Rental costs also rose sharply.