From the chicken sandwich wars to  ghost kitchens, chicken offerings were popular with consumers during COVID-19.
 
“Chicken for sure thrived during the pandemic. It seemed like there was a new wings concept was popping up everywhere you looked, we had the chicken sandwich wars going on and wings are definitely overrepresented from a ghost kitchen perspective,” Kelley Bailie Fechner, director, customer solutions, Datassential, said.
 
Fechner will explore carry out and home delivery opportunities that emerged during the pandemic and suggest ways chicken can fuel the foodservice recovery post-COVID-19 at the 2021 Chicken Marketing Summit.
 
Make plans to attend the 2021 edition of Chicken Marketing Summit scheduled for July 18-20, 2021 at the Omni Amelia Island Resort in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Registration is now open with early savings available.
 

Will ghost kitchens remain popular?

2020 saw an explosion in virtual brands and ghost kitchens, with everyone from Bloomin’ Brands to Brinker International getting in on chicken wing delivery options.
 
“We’ve asked operators whether ghost kitchens will continue to be popular and 42% of them have said they think it’s a long-term trend,” Fechner explained. “I just don’t see this going away. There are too many positives to it.”
 
Operators can capitalize on the wings trend by experimenting with new flavors.

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“Wings are one of the easiest things to do safe experimentation with, you can do local flavors, you can do spicy flavors, anything that you can think of to create an extra add on for consumers,” she added.

The battle of the chicken sandwiches continues

Fried chicken sandwiches remain popular with consumers following the 2019 chicken sandwich wars. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Chick-fil-A remain the industry leaders, but at least six other major quick service restaurant chains have added a chicken sandwich to menus since the beginning of 2021.
 
The new chicken sandwiches boosted first quarter earnings for both McDonald’s and KFC. Executives at Yum Brands, the parent company of KFC, said the new menu item is selling at twice the volume compared to previous versions. McDonald’s franchisees reported selling an average of 262 chicken sandwiches per day, according to Kalinski Equity Research’s quarterly survey of operators.
 
We’re seeing about four and a half new chicken sandwiches introduced every single month since September of 2019,” Fechner said. “Everyone is upping their chicken sandwich game. If someone hasn’t done that, you kind of need one just to be table stakes.”
 

Attend the 2021 Chicken Marketing Summit

The  2021 Chicken Marketing Summit  will be held at the Omni Amelia Island Resort in Fernandina Beach, Florida on July 18-20. This year, the conference will shine a light on what consumers will be looking for in the post-pandemic world and how poultry marketers can find success in the marketplace.
 
For more information and to attend, visit:  www.wattglobalmedia.com/chickenmarketingsummit/.
 
View our continuing coverage of the novel  coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
 
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