Consumers buying more chicken as inflation continues

FILE-A shopper compares packaged cuts of chicken in the meat section of a grocery store. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

Chicken is suddenly in demand as shoppers are raiding grocery store shelves to get their hands on the products. 

This surge in poultry purchases is related to the high cost of beef and meat goods for consumers and ongoing inflation nationwide. 

As a result, meat companies like Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride are seeing higher profits from chicken as demand rises for their products and costs plummet for livestock feed.  

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Tyson Foods sells about 20 billion chicken nuggets and 5.5 billion chicken wings annually, with the Arkansas-based company telling the Wall Street Journal it plans to add new seasoned and marinated chicken, beef, and pork products in  2024.

Citing data from the market research firm Circana, the Wall Street Journal reported that sales of chicken products in the U.S. increased 3% for the 52 weeks ending on April 21 compared to 2023. But sales for pork and beef each saw a slight decline. 

Separately, boneless chicken breast has increased in price by 26%, from $3.26 per pound in January 2021 to $4.11 per pound in February 2024, FOX Business noted, citing a Labor Department report from March. 

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The restaurant industry is adjusting its menu options, offering more meal deals amid the rise in chicken purchases to boost sales.

Wingstop reported a 21.6% rise in domestic same-store sales in its latest quarter, driven by an uptick in customer orders.

Chick-fil-A averaged $7.5 million in sales at its U.S. stores in 2023, a 10% increase from 2022, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing the market research firm Technomic

Popeyes drove up its share of fast-food chicken sales in recent months through promotions on its new wings and a big-box meal, while competitors’ deals on chicken meals hurt KFC’s U.S. sales in the latest quarter. 

According to the National Chicken Council, consumers buy more chicken than any other food as chicken consumption per capita has risen nearly every year since the mid-1960s, with red meat consumption declining. 

FOX Business contributed to this report. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.