The Super Bowl is more than just a big game. It's the Super Bowl of American Consumption, where Americans gather to ingest as many calories as a typical Thanksgiving dinner. According to the organization the Calorie Control Council, Americans will gobble up at around 2,400 calories during the big game, while a recent study from Cornell University found Americans could average as many as 4,000-5,000 calories on Sunday, based on average consumer grocery store purchases during Super Bowl week.
Here's how much Americans are consuming this Super Bowl Sunday:
1.25 billion: The number of chicken "wing portions" the National Chicken Council estimates will be eaten.
100 million: Pounds of avocados that Haas Avocado Board estimates will be eaten.
11.2 million: Pounds of potato chips that will be eaten, according to the Calorie Control Council.
8.2 million: Pounds of tortilla chips that will be consumed.
222,792: Number of football fields worth of farmland used to grow all that corn, potatoes, and avocados.
48 million: The number of Americans that will order take-out
11 million: Slices of pizza Domino's expects to deliver.
Over the last few years, chicken wings have become the de facto go-to Super Bowl snack. So what happens to the rest of the 312.5 million or so birds beyond their wings and associated wing portions? That's a good question. Maryn McKenna writes a fascinating (and somehwat terrifying) trajectory of the chicken and all its parts at National Geographic.
What chicken wings actually represent—in addition to a spicy snack that complements beer—is the United States’ success over decades in rethinking the chicken, from an intact bird that began as a sit-down Sunday meal, to a source of components that fuel a global trade.
Here’s what that trade looks like. The main buyers of U.S. chicken last year were Mexico, Hong Kong, Angola, mainland China, and Russia; after that, Cuba, Canada, Taiwan, Iraq and the Republic of Georgia. The vast majority of chicken that we sell overseas is parts; which is to say, the parts that we in the U.S. don’t want.
In short, all of the parts, from head to toe, are shipped all over the world, including the feathers.
Which brings up another good question: Given how much Americans are consuming on Super Bowl Sunday, what does one person's environmental footprint look like for a single day? When you take into account factory farming, carbon emissions, food packaging, fuel used to produce and deliver the Super Bowl food, and the fact that only 55 percent of aluminum beer and soda cans get recycled, it turns out it that one environmental footprint is about the the size of 18 William "Refrigerator" Perrys.
But there are a few things you can do to turn it into, say, 10 Refrigerator Perrys. You can start by making sure 100 percent of recyclable goods get recycled. This is a link for a Kansas City organization, but the same rules for recycling apply in Minneapolis. In case you aren't sure of the Minneapolis rules, you can check them out here.
Just remember not to recylce the "dirty" side of the pizza box. And always, always remember this. Happy Chicken Wing Day, America.