Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Buffalo Wild Wings
Can a “boneless chicken wing” really be called a wing?
That’s the question posed by a new class action lawsuit filed last week in federal court by a Chicago man who purchased a set of boneless wings in January from a Buffalo Wild Wings in Mount Prospect, Illinois.
Based on the name and description of the wings, the complaint states that Aimen Halim “reasonably believed that the products were in fact boneless wings” – in other words, that they consisted entirely of wing meat. of chicken.
But the “boneless wings” served at Buffalo Wild Wings are not. Instead, they are made with white meat from chicken breasts.
If Halim had known that, he “wouldn’t have bought them or paid a lot less for them,” he claims in his lawsuit. Furthermore, he alleged, the chain “deliberately, falsely and knowingly misrepresented” his boneless wings as real chicken wings.
Buffalo Wild Wings’ only response came in the form of a tweet.
Our boneless wings are all made with white chicken meat.
Our burgers do not contain ham.
Our buffalo wings are 0% buffalo.
— Wild Buffalo Wings (@BWWings) March 13, 2023
“That’s right. Our boneless wings are white meat chicken only. Our burgers contain no ham. Our buffalo wings are 0% buffalo,” the channel wrote on Monday.
According to a report published last month by the Associated Press, breast meat is less expensive than bone-in chicken wings, with a difference of more than $3 per pound.
In fact, wings used to be cheaper than breast meat. Trial dates that change in price difference since the Great Recession, citing a 2009 New York Times article on the continued popularity of chicken wings, even as price-conscious consumers had reduced their dining out.
Back then, chicken farmers tended to gravitate toward larger, hormone-filled birds, a 2018 story in the counter noted. Yet no matter how much white meat a larger chicken could produce, it still only had two wings.
Halim’s lawsuit seeks a court order to immediately stop Buffalo Wild Wings from making “misleading representations” at the chain’s 1,200 locations nationwide.
Some of the bar chain’s competitors, including Domino’s and Papa Johns, refer to their chicken breast nuggets as “chicken poppers” or “boneless chicken,” the lawsuit notes. “A restaurant named Buffalo Wild ‘Wings’ should be just as, if not more, careful about how it names its products,” he said.
The lawsuit also seeks unspecified compensation for monetary losses suffered by Halim and all other customers of Buffalo Wild Wings locations in Illinois.
Class action lawsuits against food and beverage companies have become more common in recent years. Many accuse packaged food products, such as those available in grocery stores, of deceptive or misleading labels, packaging or advertising.
Those cases have risen from 18 in 2008 to more than 300 in 2021, according to Perkins Coie, a law firm that tracks food and drink disputes and represents businesses. The number slowed last year, the firm found.