November 27, 2008
The Korean KFC has temporarily stopped sales of their Zinger and Tower chicken burgers due to low supply and high chicken prices.
Sales were halted in 109 out of 140 outlets nationwide. Chickens had been in low supply due to a bird flu outbreak earlier this year, leading to mass culling. The hike in feed prices had also nearly doubled chicken prices from the previous year.
In November so far, 40 million chickens have been slaughtered, down 10 percent on-year, said the Korea Poultry Association.
"Many chicken farmers have started to slaughter chickens that are not yet fully grown for meat in order to compensate for the low supply. However, our burgers use chicken breast from fully-grown poultry," said a local KFC official.
Last week, a whole chicken at E-Mart cost KRW6,500, up 37 percent on-year. Wholesale price for a whole chicken also rose 53 percent on-year to KRW3,328 last week.
Grain price hikes and losses due to currency values have increased production costs to KRW1,900 instead of KRW1,200, said Kim Dong-jin, manager at the Korea Poultry Association.
US$1 = KRW 1,481.54 (Nov 27, 2008)