Man Hijacks City Council Meeting to Speak From the Heart About Boneless Chicken Wings

If one resident gets his way, the capital city of Nebraska could take a stand against the deceptive marketing of chicken breast meat as boneless chicken wings.

Appearing before the Lincoln City Council on Monday, local resident Ander Christensen argued that "Lincoln has the opportunity to be a social leader in this country," by pushing back against the pernicious influence of Big Boneless.

"I go into nice family restaurants and I see people throwing this name around and pretending as though everything is just fine. I'm talking about boneless chicken wings," Anders said, before gently hushing laughter from other attendees to the meeting. "I propose that we as a city remove the name 'boneless chicken wings' from our menus and from our hearts."

Christensen cited three reasons behind his proposal that the city rename so-called boneless chicken wings. His first was that the sauce-coated, deep-fried chicken dish is made of breast meat, and doesn't actually come from the wing of a chicken.

"We would be disgusted if a butcher was mislabelling their cuts of meats, but then we go around pretending that the breast of a chicken is its wing?"

But it wasn't just mislabeling the meat that drove Christensen to speak out. He also objected to the duplicative nomenclature, which has created a new category of foodstuff by marketing sauced-up chicken tenders under a different label.

"Boneless chicken wings are just chicken tenders, which are already boneless," Christensen told the Council. "I don't go to order boneless tacos, I don't go and order boneless club sandwiches, I don't ask for boneless auto repair; it's just what's expected."

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Chicken wing bones left behind after Wing Bowl 25 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2017. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Finally, Christensen cited a theoretical danger to the next generation, who are being acculturated to accept meat that's been alienated from its real origins. "Our children are raised being afraid of having bones being attached to their meat,. That's where meat comes from; it grows on bones," Christensen said.

Instead of 'boneless chicken wings,' Christensen proposed a number of alternative names for the breaded pieces of chicken breast masquerading as wings.

"We can call them buffalo-style chicken tenders. We can call them wet tenders. We can call them saucy nugs, or trash," Christensen said. "We can take these steps and show the country where we stand, and that we understand that we've been living a lie for far too long, and we know it, because we can feel it in our bones."

Christensen's proposal was met by applause by at least one enthusiastic supporter in the audience. The Lincoln City Council didn't directly respond to Christensen's proposal, though councilmember at-large Roy Christensen confirmed that Anders was his son.

"I did notice the last name, and just thought, 'Coincidence?'" councilmember at-large Sandra Washington said in response.

A storm is brewing. The Lincoln City Council has yet to make a public statement but they can see the writing on the wall. #SaucyNugs

— Ander Christensen (@Handsome121Duck) September 2, 2020

While Christensen's boneless chicken wing proposal was in part a jape, Alyssa Christensen, a relation unconfirmed by Newsweek, described the true feeling motivating Anders in response to YouTube comments under a video of the council meeting.

"He's serious about boneless wings. It's also a joke," Christensen wrote.

Demand for chicken wings has exploded in recent years, as chicken wing restaurant chains like Wingstop, Epic Wings, The Wing Basket, Buffalo Wild Wings and Atomic Wings flourish, selling approximately a billion servings of wings (about four wings) in 2019. An estimated 1.35 billion chicken wings were consumed on Super Bowl weekend in 2018.

The demand has sent prices for chicken wing meat upward to more than $2 a pound in 2018. Since breast meat can be cut into five or more three-inch pieces of chicken, then coated and fried, many restaurants responded by selling breast meat in a similar package, marketing them as boneless chicken wings.

But Christensen might get his way without the need for a city council resolution or new legislation: boneless wings simply aren't as popular as the real deal. According to the National Chicken Council, traditional wings still make up the majority of "wings" served—64 percent in 2018—while boneless wing sales actually dropped in relation to their bone-in forewingers.

Higher profit margin for boneless chicken has redounded to the benefit of chicken chains like Chick-fil-A, which sells boneless chicken sandwiches, and a proliferation of similar sandwiches, like Popeyes' popular version. What it means for the future of the boneless "wing" isn't yet certain—Christensen's proposal might one day be seen as the opening salvo in a coming purge of menus across the country.

Newsweek reached out to Christensen for more on his efforts to end the boneless chicken wing lie, and also to the Lincoln City Council to learn whether legislation or a resolution against boneless chicken wings will be moving forward, but did not hear back by time of publication.