But as I watched Colbert say “Wyngz” over and over again, I realized that wyngz were indeed still made with chicken — just not with chicken wings. Apparently, DiGiorno needed a way to market a chicken wing-shaped edible food-like product without running afoul of product labeling laws. Thus, wyngz were hatched.
I sometimes have a hard time figuring out when Colbert’s exaggerating and when he’s merely pointing out something so ridiculous that it seems like an exaggeration — so I did some research. Indeed, the USDA has guidelines for products like wyngz, a word allowed to be used “to denote a product that is in the shape of a wing or a bite-size appetizer type product.”
Now, the USDA only allows the word wyngz to be used if the way it’s used is “fanciful and not misleading.” Wyngz must be made of white meat chicken, first of all — not some other weird meat-like substance. Mention of wyngz must be followed by an asterisk — which should have a corresponding note, basically specifying that wyngz are not made of wing meat. And lastly and weirdly, wyngz cannot be misspelled!
Colbert’s wyngz piece went viral, with even Consumer Reports and TIME reporting on the weird food. That got DiGiorno to get the help of another comedian — Jay Mohr, who has signed on as a spokesperson for the company. In a short clip DiGiorno posted on its Facebook page, Mohr points out that the wyngz are made of white meat, making the snacks “better” — and thus the “breast of both worlds” according to text accompanying Mohr's performance.
Mohr made wyngz sound so healthy and natural! So are these wings really just white chicken meat with a little breading on top? DiGiorno put up images of the front of its new products on its Facebook site — but omitted to include any of the nutritional or ingredient information. So I ended up taking a walk to my nearest supermarket to get a firsthand look. Click on the image to biggify.
Wyngz have chicken breast and rib meat in them — but also the many processed ingredients found in most products in the frozen food aisle, like dextrose, soybean oil, modified food starch. Here’s the nutrition panel.
The pizza and wyngz packets were on sale for $7.49, but I decided to keep my money.
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