April 30, 2021
US demand for chicken at restaurants exceeds poultry supplies
Increased demand for chicken products such as sandwiches, tenders, nuggets, and wings at quick-service restaurants in the United States has resulted in a poultry supply shortage in the country, Bloomberg reported.
Chicken is the most popular meat in the United States, but it saw a new level of demand after Popeye's chicken sandwich burger, first released in 2019, went viral and sold out. Other chains such as McDonald's Corp. and KFC, owned by Yum! Brands Inc. now also sell a similar product beyond projections.
David Gibbs, Yum! chief executive officer, said there is high demand for the new chicken sandwich that the company cannot keep up with the demand. KFC saw a 14% increase in comparable store sales in the US in the most recent quarter as the new chicken sandwich sells two times more compared to other new sandwiches.
McDonald's did not report supply constrains but said sales of its new chicken sandwich has surpassed expectations. McDonald's also reported first-quarter sales above projections.
Bojangles, a chicken-and biscuits-chain from North Carolina, said there are sold out of chicken tenders in its 750 restaurants.
Charles Morrison, chairman of Wingstop Inc, another chicken restaurant chain, also said there is a problem with supply of the meat in the country.
Fabio Sandri, chief executive officer of Pilgrim's Pride Corp, the second-biggest chicken producer in the US, said it is difficult to keep up with demand without enough labour. He said the company will pay an additional US$40 million in 2021 to pay and retain workers.
Alternative meat companies are looking to benefit from this opportunity. Beyond Meat is planning to sell a plant-based chicken product soon.