National wing shortage hurts local businesses

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sticker shock for those who love to nibble on chicken wings. The price of wings has not fallen back to earth after reaching sky high during the Super Bowl. 

Have the prices for wings caught you by surprise? They have for Donald Crump who knows his way around a fryer.  

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He is the owner of Crumpy’s Hot Wings, a Memphis staple of fried wings.  

“$138 a case. Last year these wings were running around $70, $75 a case,” Crump told FOX13.

Crump said traditionally chicken wing prices drop after the college basketball championships when television sports watching slows down.  

“To me it is price gauging, yah know.  But what can we do?  We can’t fight the big companies and stuff,” said Crump as he sauced some wings in a specialty hot mixture of spices.

Industry experts say meat processors are having a hard time keeping up with demand from traditional wing places and newcomers like pizza and sandwich spots.  

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Crump told us he has to cut back on labor not to increase his prices.

“I cut out a cook so now I am the cook and the cashier. You know what I am saying” said Crump.  

As a 30 year veteran of the fried chicken wing business, Crump will survive but worries about other wing shop owners that don’t know how to find suppliers that are cheaper, if any even exist.

“I turn 65 this year. I am getting retired, May 7. Leave to the kids,” Crump said.