Supermarket Perimeter - March 2021 - rmt - 13

The most recent data demonstrates these prevention and control measures implemented last spring have
been working.

KRISTINA BLOKHIN, IPUWADOL - STOCK.ADOBE.COM

L

QUARANTINE KITCHEN
Throughout the last year, as home kitchens took center stage, Americans have been relying on chicken as a
healthy and convenient protein that can be enjoyed by
everyone. In fact, three-quarters (75%) of Americans
who eat chicken say they prepare chicken at home
at least once a week. During the first 9 months of
COVID-19, retail chicken sales increased $1.3B, up
19.5% from the same period last year, according to IRI
and 210 Analytics.
The National Chicken Council recently unveiled
the findings of a survey fielded with the goal of better understanding chicken consumption trends and
preferences in the United States. Along with a host of
interesting metrics, the survey includes insight into the
impact of the pandemic on chicken consumption habits,
showing that half (50%) of Americans who eat chicken
say they have eaten it more than any other protein
during COVID-19.
With everyone adjusting to a new way of life, chicken
has been a reliable source of nutritious protein in an
unpredictable time. This research shows how the hard
work of the entire chicken industry during this challenging time has supported many Americans who are looking for an easy-to-prepare, affordable and healthy meal.
Chicken has been popular during COVID-19 because
it is easy to prepare and great for meal prepping.
A staple of many diverse meals, it is no question
that chicken is a versatile protein. Nearly half (48%) of
survey respondents say they increased the amount of
chicken they prepared at home during the pandemic,
while 39% said they increased the ways they prepare
chicken. No matter how Americans prefer it, chicken
is an easy meal to prepare and is perfect for meal prepping, especially when we are spending more time than
ever at home. According to Food and Wine, chicken
was the most tweeted about food in the United States,
making it the #1 quarantine food.
When it comes to chicken decisions, Americans
are split.
Approximately one half (52%) of Americans prefer grilled chicken while the other would opt for fried
(48%). Americans also just barely prefer boneless
wings (53%) over traditional bone-in wings. Plus, two
in five Americans say that the breast is their favorite
cut of chicken, but wing (20%), thigh (17%) and drumstick (14%) are also fierce competitors. Three-quarters
(74%) of chicken eaters would prefer to eat real chicken
over plant-based alternatives.

SNACK TIME
With more eating occurring at home, increased
eating occasions between
mealtimes has brought
new meaning to snacks.
With more households and
meal preparers focused on
in-home food consumption, chicken in many varieties
and ways has stepped-up to the plate, according to the
same survey.
Anticipating the need for a mini-meal or snack,
consumers are reportedly cooking a few extra pieces
of chicken for planned leftovers. At the other end of
the snack lineup are several relatively new convenient
chicken products. Chicken bites, poppers, popcorn,
and similar products are testing new flavors, packaging,
and combinations with vegetables. No doubt, a good
number of these products will prove successful, especially as the stay-at-home crowd are most receptive to
new tastes that feature chicken.
One product that offers great potential in this environment is roll ups. While rollups have traditionally used
ham, cheese, and compatible ingredients, it is a natural
time to rollout chicken for rollups. Thinly sliced chicken
breast meat or thigh meat easily combines with a wide
variety of cheeses and vegetables. Rollups have great
versatility. They can be served cold, hot, handheld, in
a wrap, for an affordable, healthy snack. Rollups can be
positioned for the budget conscious food shopper or
readily go upscale with organic chicken versions that
add upscale cheeses.
Some of the more traditional chicken snacks like
wings, both bone-in and boneless, continue to enjoy
snack popularity. A good number of the retail grocery
chains are reminding their home delivery and curbside
pickup customers to include wings, hot, chilled, or frozen in their bundle of ordered food.
It is also anticipated that more limited time unique
chicken snacks will be offered by supermarkets especially at delis. These will focus on holiday occasions,
certain sporting events or even stock up your freezer to
better enjoy the snowed-in days.
Supermarkets are working diligently to capture and
keep as much market share as possible while they can.
They realize that one day consumers will return to a
more normal pattern of eating away-from-home.
Serving consumers snacking needs and desires,
especially with chicken, should allow supermarkets to
be more competitive in the overall food market in the
months and years ahead.
Tom Super is senior vice president at the National
Chicken Council in Washington, D.C.
supermarketperimeter.com

Meat_SP_0321.indb 13

Snack-size chicken products
will continue to play a bigger
role for today's smaller
households and multipleeating-occasion consumers,
particularly younger ones.

RETAIL
CHICKEN
SALES

19.5%
during the first nine
months of COVID-19
from the same period
the year before.
(IRI and 210 Analytics)

retail MEAT TRENDS

13

3/1/2021 12:47:11 PM


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Supermarket Perimeter - March 2021

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