U.S. chicken consumption remains high in 2015 in the two primary purchase channels – supermarket and food service establishment, according to new research presented July 13 at the 2015 Chicken Marketing Seminar.  

Eighty-five percent of consumers ate a chicken meal or snack purchased from a supermarket and 67 percent ate a chicken meal or snack from a food service establishment in the two weeks leading up to the survey. These numbers are at parity with those seen in 2014.

The survey was commissioned by the National Chicken Council (NCC) and conducted online by ORC International June 22 – 24, 2015, among 1,019 adults. Funding for the study was provided by WATT PoultryUSA and Elanco. A copy of the full presentation of the chicken consumption survey can be seen online.

“Chicken remains America’s favorite protein and consumers’ affinity for it shows no signs of waning,” said NCC senior vice president of communications Tom Super. “This latest data confirms that, but it also presents some opportunities and challenges in the year ahead.”  

In the next 12 months, 23 percent of consumers anticipate eating more chicken from the supermarket and 14 percent anticipate eating more from a food service establishment.

Highest chicken consumption levels among young people, ethnically diverse

Consumers with the highest consumption levels tend to skew younger and more ethnically diverse, with larger households.  Noteworthy also is that consumer purchase is highest in the Northeast, Midwest and South.

What consumers look for in chicken

As part of the survey, consumers were asked to consider their most recent chicken purchase and rank various factors in order of importance.  Basic, functional benefits including freshness, price and taste were ranked highest as influencers in consumers’ purchase decision making.  

Consumers were also prompted to see if various claims would increase, decrease, or have no effect on their likelihood to purchase their favorite chicken products.  Though all tested claims pique purchase interest, consumers said they are most interested in knowing if the product was locally raised. 

While 29 percent of consumers have no concerns about purchasing chicken, other consumers are most likely to be concerned about product freshness and health/safety.  Concerns regarding product freshness and health/safety are top of mind for approximately one in four consumers.  

Eighty percent of consumers state that they would seek out information to assuage their chicken concerns.  Consumers are most likely to use the USDA website or a brand/company website to find more information about the chicken they buy.

Even though federal law prohibits their use, 55 percent were extremely or very concerned about hormone and steroid use in chicken production.