From crispy chicken sandwiches to tender and winged, America’s growing appetite for fried chicken is driving poultry shortages.
The popularity of chicken – from sandwiches and tenders to nuggets and wings – is fueling such demand for fried poultry that America is starting to run out.
KFC says it is struggling to meet growing demand for its new sandwich, while North Carolina-based chicken and cookie chain Bojangles has reported bidding outages at its 750 locations.
“We have a system-wide shortage. But they’ll be back soon, ”Bojangles’ corporate Twitter account wrote earlier this week in response to a customer frustrated at not being able to find the company’s chicken offerings.
Chicken, which is the most popular meat in the United States, finds a new level of demand after Popeyes introduced a sandwich in 2019 that went viral and sold out within weeks. The frenzy has now spread to other chains, with McDonald’s Corp. and KFC, owned by Yum! Brands Inc., reporting this week that their new fried chicken sandwiches are selling well above expectations.
“The demand for the new sandwich has been so strong that, together with the general tightening of the domestic chicken supply, our main challenge has been to keep up with that demand,” Yum CEO David Gibbs said on Wednesday. a conference call.
KFC saw comparable store sales soar 14% in the last quarter in the United States, in part thanks to its new chicken sandwich which sells twice as much as previous new sandwiches.
McDonald’s, which also reported higher than expected first-quarter sales, did not mention any supply constraints when releasing its results on Thursday, but said sales so far of its new line of sandwiches the chicken far exceeded expectations.
Poultry businesses are struggling to meet the demand for quick service restaurants. The biggest challenge for Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., America’s second-largest chicken producer, is work, according to CEO Fabio Sandri. The company expects to pay an additional $ 40 million this year to pay and retain workers, Sandri said Thursday.
Chicken-based Wingstop Inc. president Charles Morrison also raised the issue this week.
“Suppliers in our industry are finding it equally difficult to hire staff to process chicken, which puts unexpected pressure on the amount of birds that can be processed and negatively affects the supply of all parts of the chicken in the United States. United, not just the wings, ”he said on a conference call.
Some food companies may be able to take advantage of this opportunity: In an attempt to capture some of the searing demand, Beyond Meat Inc. plans to start selling a plant-based chicken product this summer, Bloomberg News reported earlier. this week.
– With the help of Michael Hirtzer.