Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
May 1, 2012 06:55 AM

Supply and Demand Rears It's Ugly Head with Dark Meat Chicken Prices

I always cringed when I saw TV chefs touting the virtues of chicken thighs. Moreover, I've always thought that smallish chicken drumsticks made for great Buffalo "wings." Now it seems that my beloved, underappreciated cuts of chicken are going to go the way of beef short ribs, pork shoulders, and other formerly cheap cuts.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. What are you paying for dark meat chicken? pork shoulder? I have noticed my local butchers are putting more out for sale since the recession started, but both proteins have remained static price-wise in my part of the Upper Midwest [Central Iowa].

    13 Replies
    1. re: hawkeyeui93

      Haven't seen dark meat chicken for 29 cents like a year or so ago. And pork shoulder is at least 10 to 20 cents a lb more too, at its lowest. But these are different times.

      1. re: coll

        coll: I perceive more people are eating them due to the times we live in as well ... I haven't seen hind quarters of chicken for 29 cents or less in a year or two as well, but two stores in my area are banging it out at 49 cents a pound this week. In terms of pork shoulder, I live in an area where a lot of pork is processed, so the price has remained static over the past five-plus years.

        1. re: hawkeyeui93

          I was thinking that, 10 cents more is no big deal when you get a whole pork shoulder. Chicken was so cheap I was stocking up on it, but alas my husband refused to eat it. So no matter how cheap, sort of a loser. I'm not so picky, but probably not going to buy in the near future. I did just read the same story elsewhere, and realized all these chicken sausages I've been trying are actually dark meat. Ssshhhh, don't tell hubby!

      2. re: hawkeyeui93

        In the past few years, the "sale" prices for shoulders have gone from $.79 to $1.49 a pound, chicken leg base prices from $.59 to $1.19. I'm in Central NJ.

        1. re: MGZ

          On Long Island, I've gotten pork shoulder for $1.09 recently. Whoop di doo.

          1. re: coll

            Lets figure this out. A half pound of pork shoulder is a bounty for one person's daily intake of meat. Call it 55 cents. How many hours of work do you have to do to earn 55 cents?

            It makes me crazy when we Americans complain about the cost of food.

            Here is a good subject for a doctoral thesis, how many American families could eat a healthy diet for less money than their cable tv and cell phone bills?

            1. re: kengk

              Some Americans on fixed incomes/limited incomes/unemployed are fully justified complaining about food prices, especially when they are struggling to pay their mortgages, high energy prices, etc.

              1. re: hawkeyeui93

                "Chicken was so cheap I was stocking up on it, but alas my husband refused to eat it."

                This is the point I was trying to make. I have empathy for folks that are struggling but people who are truly hungry or in danger of suffering malnutrition don't refuse to eat cheap chicken.

                1. re: kengk

                  My husband refused only due to health issues, he would starve to death if I didn't pamper him unfortunately. But you are right about that in general, I do agree.

                  1. re: coll

                    Thank you, I would be dead as a door knob If I had to eat fried eggs for a living. : )

                    My lovely wife does the grocery shopping and I do the cooking. She always complains about the bill but I point out that half the "grocery" bill is not for food. Cleaners, toiletries, beauty products ( she is quite beautiful), sodas etc. take up a huge portion.

                    Those of us who are so lucky to live where we don't have to worry about starving to death should be more grateful.

                    Complaining is good though, I like to bitch about my coworkers attire.

                  2. re: kengk

                    kengk: I tend to agree, but if he refused to eat it for health reasons, then his refusal may be fully justified. Although I do not mind dark meat chicken (and surely grew up eating it in my working class family), when it comes to fried, I prefer the breast and wing.

                2. re: kengk

                  It is probably true that Americans are more likely to die from complications of obesity than starvation. Nevertheless, you seem to have missed the point of the instant lament. In a relatively short period of time, many of the food geeks' favorite, underappreciated cuts of meat have become popular. It's akin to having your favorite, undiscovered, hole-in-the-wall eatery become so popular there are suddenly waits for tables. The price increases are basically just insult to injury.

                  Hawkeye's point suggested that perhaps the popularity of the cheaper cuts was borne out of economic necessity for some, as opposed to a growing demand based on other factors as suggested by the referenced article. In any event, it's not complaining about the rising cost of food, but what may be inferred from such change.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    I do get it. I can afford to eat anything or anywhere I want. Still enjoy getting those leg quarters on sale for .29-.49/lb or getting 3-4 pork shoulders when they are less than a dollar.

                    The cheap chicken is in the past for me though, I started back raising my own a couple years ago and figure I have about $50 a chicken in the ones we eat now. : (

          2. Bittman had a column recently suggesting that the higher prices of meat are a good thing for our health --

            He's probably right. I've become vegan 2 to 4 days a week... and feel better for it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: drongo

              Unfortunately, I live in one of the largest pork producing states in the country and if all else fails, pork is always an inexpensive go-to protein in the Upper Midwest. With that being said, I need to join you in the partial vegan diet.