Poultry Supply Chain Slowing Down as Demand Rises

Chicken is in such high demand that U.S. restaurants and processing companies are having trouble keeping up. Supply challenges are hitting all sorts of chains that serve chicken, including bone-in chains, burger joints that sell chicken sandwiches, pizza chains selling wings, as well as traditional wing restaurants. The problem has led to higher chicken prices, especially for chicken wings.

Restaurant Business Dot Com says prices will stay at record levels for the foreseeable future. “We believe these higher prices are likely to continue in 2021 as suppliers are struggling to hire enough people to process chicken, thus placing unexpected pressure on the number of birds that can get processed,” says Charlie Morrison, CEO of Wingstop. “That’s negatively affecting the supply of all parts of the chicken in the U.S. and not just wings.”

Prices for bone-in wings on the spot market are up more than 50 percent year over year. KFC introduced a new chicken sandwich earlier this year and is having trouble keeping up with demand. While there are multiple challenges facing chicken supplies, a lot of the challenges are based on demand. Chicken sandwich demand has risen dramatically, while chicken wings have seen even greater demand increases.