Demand for Fried Chicken in US Results in Shortage

Demand for Fried Chicken in US Results in Shortage Demand for Fried Chicken in US Results in Shortage (Chokmoso/Dreamstime.com)

By Nick Koutsobinas | Thursday, 29 April 2021 06:32 PM

The popular demand for fried chicken has caused such a stir lately that America is starting to run low. According to the Twitter of Bojangles, a North Carolina-based chicken-and biscuits-chain, when a customer tweeted out that the restaurant was out of Supremes, a four-piece fried chicken combo, Bojangles replied, "We're experiencing a system-wide shortage. But they will be back soon."

Chicken is popular in the United States. After Popeyes introduced a chicken sandwich in 2019, the demand caused the chain to sell out in weeks. The frenzy for chicken has since spread to chains including McDonald's and KFC, both owned by Yum! Brands, Inc.

According to AdAge, Yum! CEO David Gibbs said Wednesday, "Demand for the new sandwich has been so strong that, coupled with general tightening in domestic chicken supply, our main challenge has been keeping up with that demand."

Charles Morrison, chairman of Wingstop Inc. also cited his concern about the demand for chicken.

''Suppliers are struggling just as many in our industry are, to hire people to process chicken, thus placing unexpected pressure on the amount of birds that can be processed and negatively affecting supply of all parts of the chicken in the U.S., not just wings."

Both KFC and McDonald's saw increases in their first-quarter sales. KFC reported a 14 percent increase due to its new chicken sandwich. McDonald's attributed its success of "far exceeding expectations" to a new chicken sandwich line but made no mention of demand constrictions.

Some other companies may try to seize the moment and enhance demand for their products. For example, Beyond Meat is planning to sell vegan-based chicken this summer.

According to the second-biggest poultry producer, Pilgrim's Pride Corp., the company's CEO Fabio Sandri says the largest hurdle his company faces is labor, with the company expected to pay $40 million more this year than last year to retain and pay workers.

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