Chicken, chicken, chicken. It seems to be everywhere in the world of foodservice – the number of QSR and restaurant chains serving chicken keeps increasing and there are national advertising campaigns focused solely around it.
There are a few obvious reasons why chicken seems to be a popular food option today. Its versatility is unmatched – chicken can be fried, grilled, baked, roasted, sautéed, braised, broiled or poached. It also can be served hot OR cold (chicken salad, anyone?). Then there’s the health factor. Chicken is often described as a healthier option compared to red meat, especially when it comes to heart health. Last, and certainly not least, chicken is a protein that typically comes in at a lower cost than other meats, making it an easy choice for the everyday family trying to make ends meet.
So, what else is there to say about chicken? We dug a little further into why it’s such a big deal in the foodservice industry and found 5 key facts that help demonstrate why chicken is truly king:
1. Chicken is the #1 protein consumed in America.
A country often known for its “all-American” meal of a burger and fries, it might come as a shock that chicken is actually consumed more than beef or pork. Even more, Americans consume more chicken than anyone else in the world – more than 92 pounds per capita in 2017. That’s a lot of chicken!
2. Over the past five years, the Fast Food Chicken Franchises industry has grown by 7% to reach revenue of $29 billion in 2018.
$29 billion. It’s a number that’s hard to conceptualize. But consider this: according to the Forbes list of the world’s largest public companies, neither Twitter, Hilton, nor General Mills even hit $29 billion in revenue in 2018. But fast food chicken franchises did. The opportunities in this market are truly outstanding.
3. Four of the ten fastest growing U.S. QSR chains serve chicken.
Even in establishments that were originally founded based on other meats – such as Arby’s and McDonalds – you’ll find that the variety of chicken meals and sandwiches keeps growing in the QSR space.
4. Chicken consumption per capita has increased nearly every year since the mid 1960’s.
Not only has chicken consumption increased, but during that same time red meat consumption has steadily declined since the 1970’s (by about one-third). In the 1950s, Americans ate an average of 16 pounds of chicken per person every year. By 2000, that number grew to 53 pounds per year. By 2012, Americans were eating almost 60 pounds of chicken per person each year.
5. According to the US Department of Agriculture, global production of chicken is expected to rise 2 percent to a record 19.7 million tons in 2019.
It’s simple economics – there is more growth in both domestic and foreign demand causing this increase in production. In other words, chicken isn’t going away!
Ultimately, it’s hard to deny the importance and growing influence chicken is having on the food industry. Luckily, there are a variety of foodservice programs that revolve around chicken to consider incorporating into your convenience or grocery store. Regardless of which program you consider, make sure you’re aware of the levels of support and quality of products to ensure success.
Want More Chicken Facts? Check out our full list of 10-key facts on the chicken industry and why you shouldn’t miss out on being a key player in this ever-growing market.