Researchers Identify Chicken Wing-Eating Advancement

Information to Save Americans 116 Million Hours Annually

Elusive Finding Compared to Higgs Boson by Competitive Eating Scientific Community

Vegans See No Benefit

CLICK HERE to watch exclusive video of Major League Eating presenting its findings to the wider scientific community.


New York, NY, Friday, January 31, 2014 -- Major League Eating, through the research division of its governing body, the International Federation of Competitive Eating, today released the results of a years-long study into the most efficient method for eating chicken wings, identifying two highly efficient eating styles that will save Americans an estimated 116 million hours annually.

The study, conducted with professional eaters in association with the National Buffalo Wing Festival during the past two years, definitively concludes that the so-called “typewriter” eating style is the most efficient consumption method for a drum, while the “wishbone” is most efficient for a flat.

According to MLE, the average consumer eats with no specific approach and could reduce the time necessary to consume a plate of one dozen wings by a full three minutes and 30 seconds through these methods. Correctly applied across the 24 billion chicken wings consumed annually in the United States, these methods could save 116 million hours each year, significantly enhancing productivity in other areas.

“American exceptionalism is not dead,” said Major League Eating Chair George Shea. “This time savings represents a staggering amount of potential computing power—if we can focus it on specific tasks we can solve some of our culture’s most intractable problems. The potential is greater than MOOCs, Google Glass and the Segway combined—this is our Higgs Boson.”

MLE said it hopes the findings can be incorporated into the daily eating habits of the general public regardless of geography or political affiliation.

The study, which has a margin of error of +/- 14.7 percent, examined different eating techniques for the two main chicken parts that comprise the so-called Buffalo chicken wing dish: the drumstick, or “drum,” and the actual chicken wing, or “flat.” A total of 112 subjects were observed as part of the double-blind study, which found that the average civilian consumes a chicken wing drum or flat in 19.85 seconds.

The drumstick is a single bone surrounded by meat. The “typewriter” method for drums entails rotating the wing while eating the meat as one might eat kernels from an ear of corn. The “meat umbrella”—developed specifically for drums by former wing-eating champion, Cookie Jarvis—requires the consumer to hold the drum by the bone end and push down against the plate, pushing the meat off the bone like an umbrella being opened. The final method is “cluster targeting,” in which the consumer identifies areas with bunches of meat and bites those as appropriate.

The study found that the average time necessary to consume a drum using the typewriter method, with an otherwise empty mouth, was 2.5 seconds. The average time for the meat umbrella method was 4.3 seconds, while cluster targeting required an average of 4.9 seconds per wing.

The chicken wing flat has two parallel bones that meet at each end. Much of the wing meat lies within the two bones of the flat, and it requires distinctly different methods of consumption than the drum. With the “wishbone” method, the consumer uses both hands to separate the joint at one end while stripping the meat from the bones with the teeth. With the “one-armed bandit, the eater opens the bones using one hand and strips the meat, while the “bullet hole” describes a method in which the eater pokes the meat from between the bones with the tongue.

The average consumption time for a flat using the wishbone method, with an otherwise empty mouth, was 2.3 seconds. The average time for the one-armed bandit was 4.2 seconds, and the bullet hole required 4.4 seconds per wing.

“It is an honor for MLE to be at the forefront of this kind of scientific inquiry,” Shea said. “We feel that we have helped to advance our culture.”