A wing shortage, just in time for Wing Bowl

Japanese competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi looks up as he eats chicken wings during SportsRadio WIP’s Wing Bowl 2012 eating contest Friday, Feb. 3, 2012 in Philadelphia. Kobayashi won by eating 337 wings. (Alex Brandon/AP file)

Supply ... demand.

Fewer chickens walking around without wings... Fewer wings slathered in butter and Buffalo sauce.

This lesson in economics comes courtesy of the National Chicken Council, which told MSN that a 1 percent drop in production means wings have hit a record high price - wholesaling for $2.11 a pound, 26 cents more than a year ago.

The council also says Americans will eat 12.3 million fewer chicken wings this Super Bowl Sunday than they did last year, because there are fewer of them. To put that into perspective, MSN reported, if 1.23 billion wing segments were laid end to end, they would stretch from Candlestick Park in San Francisco to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore 27 times.

Closer to home, P.J. Whelihan's Jim Fris - who supplies the wings that will be eaten in Wing Bowl - says his own prices are up 20 percent compared with last year. He has raised menu prices 5 percent, he said. Fris suspects that poultry companies have cut back production to drive up prices.

The MSN report is here.