Boneless vs. Bone-in Chicken Wings: Which Is The Consumer Favorite

Boneless vs. Bone-in Chicken Wings: Which Is The Consumer Favorite

Boneless vs. Bone-in Chicken Wings: Which Is The Consumer Favorite


It’s that time of year when a lot of people hunker down indoors to watch sports and eat chicken wings. Just as sports enthusiasts choose a team, wing enthusiasts choose their type of chicken wing, either bone-in or boneless*, says The NPD Group, a leading global information company. With 45 percent of the population ordering chicken wings at restaurants and foodservice outlets and servings on the rise, it behooves restaurant operators to know who is on team bone-in and who is on team boneless.

And the most popular type of chicken wing is…: bone-in. The demand for bone-in chicken wings is strong. Over sixty percent of wings served at restaurants are bone-in. Further, over the past year, servings of bone-in were up six percent while declining by a similar rate for boneless, according to a new NPD study entitled, The Chicken Wing Dilemma.

The NPD study, which is based on its Checkout consumer receipt harvesting service, examines the purchase patterns of wing buyers and how restaurant operators react to fluctuating wing prices. Wing prices increased during the summer while the demand remained high but prices declined over the past three months. Boneless wings are more heavily promoted over bone-in wings when prices are high.

“Foodservice operators and suppliers offering chicken wings need to understand purchase patterns of wing buyers in order to menu appropriately, price accordingly, and tailor marketing to grow in the headwinds of price increases,” says Bonnie Riggs, NPD’s restaurant industry analyst. “Most wing buyers aren’t fair weather fans; they are super fans who stick with one type of wing regardless of price.”

*Boneless wings are made out of chicken breasts and formed into wings.

[Editor’s Note: Once we adjusted our physiology to be able to digest Earth food, we quickly fell in love with the human food you call Chicken Wings. We were also happier with the bone-in variety. Now if only we could figure out why an order of chicken WINGS also comes with leg portions… oh and Buffalo Sauce? not made from Buffaloes… you humans are very strange.


About The NPD Group, Inc. 
The NPD Group provides market information and business solutions that drive better decision-making and better results. The world’s leading brands rely on us to help them get the right products in the right places for the right people. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, diamonds, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, technology, toys, video games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit and Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup

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