How the ‘Chicken Sandwich Wars’ Are Affecting the Poultry Industry

by Quentin Blount

The chicken sandwich wars are ongoing and the overall demand for chicken at our favorite restaurants is higher than it has been ever before.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fast-food chicken sandwich wars have reached a new boiling point. Now, all of the popular fast-food chains are trying to jump on board and cash in.

The last year and a half have been long ones for Americans all over the country. As the nation continues to battle COVID-19, many citizens have taken to their favorite restaurants for some comfort food. But since so many people choose a good, old-fashioned chicken sandwich to fill that void, the country’s poultry supply has taken a hit. In fact, the supply of fresh chicken is so limited in some areas that restaurants are running out of chicken.

National Chicken Council spokesman Tom Super says that the winter storms down south also have affected the industry in a major way.

“Yes, supply is somewhat tight, but the sky certainly isn’t falling,” Super told USA Today. “Chicken producers are doing everything they can to overcome the devastating impact of Mother Nature when she inflicted the once-in-a-lifetime winter storm on Texas and nearby states – major chicken producing regions.”

Super believes that the chicken sandwich wars have led to an increased demand for poultry – breast meat to be specific. Bigtime chains like McDonald’s, KFC, Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell, and Burger King have all added new chicken sandwiches to their menus.

“Wings travel well and hold up during delivery conditions. Plus, they aligned with consumer desire for comfort food during the pandemic,” he said. “Chicken production remained steady in 2020, and as long as people are sitting around watching TV and maybe drinking a beer, wings will remain in the game.”

‘Chicken Sandwich Wars’ Affecting Menus And Prices

As with other industries and food commodities, the price of chicken wings can go up and down over the course of the year. But as producers work to meet the growing demand during the chicken sandwich wars, don’t be surprised to see prices on the rise.

And while some restaurants will likely be raising their prices on chicken products, others are simply taking their chicken wings off of the menu.

Earlier this month, Buffalo Wild Wings responded to a customer on social media who asked them if they were out of chicken. They said that many of their sports bars currently have a limited supply. But they are working to get stocked back up.

“How Buffalo Wild Wings run out of chicken?” Twitter user @KemberlieLove wrote.

“Hey, Kemberlie. We’re sorry about running out of wings. It’s been a busy few weeks and many of our sports bars have a limited supply,” Buffalo Wild Wings replied. “We’re working to get more in stock and encourage you to try some of our other items like boneless wings, hand-breaded chicken sandwiches, or burgers.”

Super said that normally the industry produces tens of billions of wings per year. So, here’s to hoping that things will get back to normal here soon.