America Runs Low On Chicken. Blame Surging Demand And Labor Shortages

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By now, Americans are pretty used to living in a third-world country where supply chain disruptions have produced soaring prices for certain foods or even created shortages. It seems like every week, another company is complaining about surging prices for raw materials or shortages. So far, consumers have yet to lash out, but the next nationwide shortage materializing could do just that.

Bloomberg reports a massive chicken shortage could be developing as fast-food chains have already reported shortages. KFC says it’s struggling to keep up with soaring demand as supplies are tightening. At 750 Bojangles locations, the chain is suffering a “system-wide shortage” of chicken.

The most popular meat in the US was broiler chicken, at about 96.4 pounds per capita in 2020. So any shortage and or price surge would easily upset tens of millions of Americans.

COVID has resulted in a demand surge for chicken. McDonald’s Corp. and KFC, owned by Yum! Brands Inc. reported this week that fried chicken products were selling like hotcakes. There is no direct evidence why chicken demand at fast-food shops is soaring – but one can assume that with millions of Americans still out of work and can barely afford to eat, they’re going buck wild with their stimulus checks at cheap fast food joints.

“Demand for the new sandwich has been so strong that, coupled with general tightening in domestic chicken supply, our main challenge has been keeping up with that demand,” Yum Chief Executive Officer David Gibbs told investors on a Wednesday.

McDonald’s said this week that its new chicken sandwich line is “far exceeding expectations.”

Bloomberg notes poultry companies have been struggling to keep up with demand from fast-food chains. According to Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., the second-biggest US chicken producer, they can’t expand capacity due to labor shortages. – READ MORE

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