Chicken lovers will have to overcome it during the Great Bird Crisis of 2021.
The largest American fast food companies reported profits this week, and executives from KFC to Wingstop highlighted the terrible situation – there is simply not enough chicken to go around.
The slowdown in meat processing caused by pandemic safety measures, along with rising demand for recently launched fried chicken sandwiches, are largely behind the shortage, officials said this week.
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“The demand for the new sandwich was so strong that, along with the overall tightening of the chicken supply, our main challenge was to meet that demand,”
The Dallas-based Texas Wingstop also noted a shortage this week, attributing it to suppliers struggling to hire new workers to meet demand.
Companies in other industries also note difficulties in recruiting, with some business owners attributing the problem to increased unemployment benefits, making it more attractive to remain on state aid.
“Suppliers are struggling, just like many in our industry, to hire people to process chicken meat, thus putting unexpected pressure on the amount of poultry that can be processed and negatively affecting the supply of all parts of the chicken to the United States. not just on the wings, “Wingstop CEO Charles Morrison said on Thursday.
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“Until we see a significant change in the availability of labor for poultry producers, a labor shortage that we believe is largely fueled by the size of the government stimulus, we expect that wing prices may remain higher for the balance of 2021, “he added.
Bojangles, known for his chickens and biscuits, is also not immune.
The Charlotte, North Carolina-based chain tweeted this week to a frustrated customer that “we are experiencing a shortage throughout the system 🙁 But they will be back soon!” The company did not immediately return the Post’s request for comment.
Some Buffalo Wild Wings locations have reportedly told customers that they temporarily do not have chicken wings.
Tom Super of the National Chicken Council said the situation was not a shortage, but added that the winter storm that hit Texas earlier this year also helped tighten the supply chain.
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“But the demand for wings in general over the last 14 months has proved to be ‘evidence of a pandemic,'” Super said in an email. “If you think about it, restaurants like chicken joints and pizzerias are built around export and delivery, so they didn’t have to change their business model so much during the pandemic. The wings travel well and last during delivery conditions.”
He added that supply constraints and related price increases would not hurt chicken demand, saying that as long as “people sit around and watch TV and maybe drink beer, the wings will stay in the game.”
“As chicken production begins to recover to a more normal pace of production in the coming months and there is a better supply-demand ratio, prices need to be eased,” he said.
Chicken has long been one of the most popular meats in the United States, but demand has grown in recent years with various fast food chains launching their own fried chicken sandwiches.
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Popeyes, which is owned by Restaurant Brands International, sparked the chicken wars in 2019 with such a popular $ 3.99 sandwich that it sold out at many restaurants. This has led other chains to seek to compete, including burgers like McDonald’s, in so-called chicken wars.
This surge in demand comes along with increased control over safety issues within the meat and poultry problems during the pandemic.
Many plants have become hotspots for COVID-19, especially in the Midwest, and lawsuits say the industry is exacerbating outbreaks. The Trump administration has ordered the plants to remain open, despite safety concerns, to avoid serious shortages.
A North Carolina industry spokesman told WSOC-TV that demand is likely to continue to grow as more restaurants open.
“What we need,” said the local TV employee, “is a four-winged chicken.”