Frozen Chicken in Supermarket

Consumers’ appetite for chickens creating shortage, likely price increases in supermarkets

*Increasing demand for chickens could soon make American consumers witness larger price increases at groceries and supermarkets

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As chickens reportedly appear to be replacing the hamburger as consumers’ favourite food product, the fast-food industry’s chicken sandwich wars, along with Americans’ general fondness for chicken dishes and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, have led to an increase in demand for poultry in the United States.

ConsumerConnect gathered that, in turn, this development is creating higher prices and shortages at some restaurants.

There have even been isolated reports of consumers ordering chicken sandwiches at fast-food restaurants and being turned away as of now, The Daily Mail report said.

Chicken Farm

The growth of Chick-Fil-A in the last two decades was said to have fuelled demand for chicken.

In 2019, Popeye’s also created a surge in demand when it introduced a new version of its chicken sandwich that created lines at restaurants across the country.

Report indicates that McDonald’s and KFC quickly followed suit by introducing and heavily promoting their own new chicken sandwiches.

Suddenly, chicken appeared to be replacing the hamburger as America’s favourite food, according to report.

On how popular has chicken become in the US, it is noted that the television ratings for Super Bowl LV January 2021 were among the lowest ever, but the people who were watching were consuming a lot of chickens.

The National Chicken Council data also showed that Americans devoured 1.42 billion chicken wings while watching the game, two percent more than the year before’s more highly rated game.

The Council cites data from NPD Group, indicating servings of chickens in restaurants rose 7 percent in 2020 over the year before, despite an 11 percent decline in trips to restaurants during the pandemic.

Then, came the big freeze in Texas February which knocked out power across the state for days. The event took Texas chicken producers offline for a time, which is only now beginning to affect the supply chain.

In terms of the inflationary impact of the surge in demand for the meat product, the increased demand and limited supply are showing up first at restaurants, where the wholesale price of chicken wings has nearly doubled in a year, according to industry sources.

Price increases may be less extreme at supermarkets, but they posted a significant jump nonetheless in 2020.

According to Statista, the average retail price of chicken in the US rose from $1.45 a pound in 2019 to $1.62 last year, the highest price since 1995.

Now, there appears to be no let-up in demand as more restaurants find ways to add chickens to the menu because they bring people through the door, report noted.

KFC told CNBC in the past week, that its new chicken sandwich is selling at twice the volume of its previous version.

And the chicken dishes keep coming, stretching supplies even more. The latest entrant is convenience store chain 7-Eleven, which is moving into the quick-serve restaurant arena, and recently opened a new Raise the Roost Chicken and Biscuits restaurant.

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