If you have not observed America’s obsession with hen, you have not been paying consideration. In 2019, Popeyes introduced the hen sandwich pattern to the mainstream and began the so-called “hen sandwich wars” that quick meals chains are nonetheless preventing to this present day. Then the pandemic hit, inflicting an explosion within the meals supply trade the place hen wings have emerged as king. Out of the blue, everybody from Applebee’s to Man Fieri to Chuck E. Cheese has began slinging wings by means of delivery-only “ghost kitchens.” So what has America gotten from its two-year hen binge? The apparent, really… a hen scarcity! Sure, we did it, guys. We have eaten all the chickens.
This week, The Wall Avenue Journal got here onerous with some actually staggering numbers: Boneless skinless hen breast is reportedly at present buying and selling at $2.04 per pound, double final yr‘s common worth and considerably up from the ten-year common of about $1.32. Rooster wing costs are additionally at file highs, as much as $2.92 per pound. “The general provide is constrained,” Wingstop CEO Charlie Morrison—who mentioned their wholesale worth for wings is up 26 % from final yr—informed the enterprise paper. “That impacts each a part of the hen.”
In a really eye-opening anecdote, the WSJ reported that even KFC was utilizing some refined methods to attempt to minimize down on folks‘s hen consumption to cope with their provide limits—issues like eradicating hen tenders and Nashville Sizzling hen gadgets from on-line menus and taking down in-store promotions for $30 fill-up buckets. “We sit up for getting again to enterprise as standard, as soon as we get previous this era of trade provide constraints,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying.
In the meantime, do not anticipate any reduction in case you‘re planning to have a hen sandwich battle in your house kitchen: Grocery costs for boneless breasts are additionally 11 % increased from final yr, as much as $3.29 per pound. And guess what: It might worsen. “Grilling season is simply across the nook, when hen demand is seasonally the strongest traditionally,” added Fabio Sandri, CEO of America’s second largest hen vendor, Pilgrim’s Delight.
Not that Sandri is complaining: Pilgrim’s Delight reported a revenue of $100 million final quarter, a 50 % leap from the yr earlier than… simply in case you have been questioning who’s actually profitable the hen sandwich wars.