November 23, 2020


National Chicken Council: US citizens prefer chicken, now top quarantine protein



Throughout the last year, as home kitchens took center stage, US citizens have been relying on chicken as a healthy and convenient protein that can be enjoyed by everyone, the National Chicken Council (NCC) said.


In fact, three-quarters (75%) of Americans who eat any chicken said they prepare chicken at home at least once a week. During the past nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic, retail chicken sales have increased US$1.3 billion, up 19.5% from the same period last year, according to IRI and 210 Analytics.


On November 18, NCC unveiled the findings of a new survey fielded with the goal of better understanding chicken consumption trends and preferences in the United States. Along with a host of interesting metrics, the survey includes insight into the impact of the pandemic on chicken consumption habits, showing that half (50%) of Americans who eat chicken said they have eaten it more than any other protein during the pandemic.


Chicken has been popular during COVID-19 as it's easy to prepare and great for meal prepping, according to NCC.


Nearly half (48%) of survey respondents said they increased the amount of chicken they prepared at home during the pandemic, while 39% said they increased the ways they prepare chicken.


"No matter how Americans prefer it, chicken is an easy meal to prepare and is perfect for meal prepping, especially when we are spending more time than ever at home. Twitter users would agree, as "chicken" has also been the most tweeted about food during the pandemic months," NCC said.


Half of Americans also agreed they'd prefer chicken to other proteins during the holidays.


With the pandemic shifting many holiday plans, people are finding innovative ways to reinvent their traditional celebratory meals. Half of Americans who eat chicken at all said they'd prefer chicken to ham (52%) or turkey (49%) at a holiday meal.  And more than half would eat chicken wings as part of Thanksgiving (57%) or Christmas (61%) dinner.


Approximately one half (52%) of Americans prefer grilled chicken while the other would opt for fried (48%). Americans just barely prefer boneless wings (53%) over traditional bone-in wings.


Additionally, two in five Americans said that the breast is their favorite cut of chicken, but wing (20%), thigh (17%) and drumstick (14%) are also fierce competitors. Three-quarters (74%) of chicken eaters would prefer to eat real chicken over plant-based alternatives.


"With everyone adjusting to a new way of life this year, chicken has been a reliable source of nutritious protein in an unpredictable time," said NCC spokesman Tom Super. "This research shows how the hard work of the entire chicken industry during this challenging time has supported many Americans who are looking for an easy-to-prepare, affordable and healthy meal."


- US Chicken Council