Pickle shortage slows Burger King chicken sandwich release

Burger King may have to delay the promised release date of their new chicken sandwich due to a pickle jar shortage in the Midwest U.S.

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(Austin Alonzo)
(Austin Alonzo)

Burger King may have to delay the promised release date of their new chicken sandwich due to a pickle jar shortage in the Midwest U.S.

The brand first announced the Hand-Breaded Crispy Chicken Sandwich in February 2021. Burger King initially planned to debut the new sandwich in western Michigan on March 23. The pickle shortage has delayed the rollout to mid-April.

The upgraded chicken sandwich, available in a choice of regular or spicy, features a hand-breaded fresh, never frozen chicken breast topped with a mayonnaise-based sauce and zesty dill pickles between a potato bun. 

The fresh chicken breasts used in the sandwich required up to $80,000 in new equipment at each restaurant as well as well as online “chicken chats” to train staff in how to prepare the dish.

“The raw chicken has a lot of food safety issues than what we are not used to dealing with, so it’s been some very aggressive training,” Jim MacDonald, the vice president of operations for Burger King Grand Rapids, told WOOD TV8.

The pickle shortage problem

Burger King uses Claussen brand pickles, which has experienced difficulties getting glass jars from suppliers. The supply chain shortage is linked to increased grocery demand and disruptions to the manufacturing schedule due to COVID-19 similar to the ones seen in meat and poultry processing early in the pandemic.

"We have pickles for Whoppers but these are very special bigger, crunchier, zesty pickles," MacDonald explained. 

"The problem was we couldn't get the pickles because they couldn't get the jars during the pandemic. They couldn't make the jars to put the pickles in to get them to us so they couldn't make enough to get them where we needed them." 

Pickles aren’t the only condiment experiencing supply chain shortages. Some foodservice operations have also experienced recent difficulties in obtaining ketchup packets.

View our continuing coverage of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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