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US poultry meat consumption rises: chicken protein of choice

US consumers have been turning to chicken during the Covid-19 pandemic, viewing it as the number 1 protein during quarantine.

Research carried out by IRI and 210 Analytics found that during the past 9 months of Covid-19, retail chicken sales have increased by $ 1.3bn, up 19.5% from the same period last year. ¾ of Americans who eat chicken say they prepared chicken at home at least once a week.

The survey, which last month questioned 999 Americans who eat chicken, also found that half of those surveyed have consumed the meat more than any other protein during the pandemic. Around 48% of respondents said they increased the amount of chicken they prepared during the pandemic while 39% said they had increased the ways they prepared chicken.

US consumers eat 43.8kgs of broiler meat per annum. Photo: Henk Riswick
US consumers eat 43.8kgs of broiler meat per annum. Photo: Henk Riswick

Good news for the sector

The statistics are good news for the sector with Thanksgiving fast approaching. Half of Americans who eat chicken at all say they would prefer chicken to ham (52%) or turkey (49%) at a holiday meal, and more than half would eat chicken wings as part of their Thanksgiving (57%) or Christmas (61%) dinner. 74% of chicken eaters would prefer to eat real chicken over plant-based alternatives. Tom Super, National Chicken Council spokesman, said: “With everyone adjusting to a new way of life this year, 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.”

43,8 kilogrammes per person

The findings support the latest US Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS) analysis, released last week, which has predicted that per capita consumption of broilers in 2020 is projected to be 1.6% higher than last year to 43.8kgs (96.4lbs). The rise will continue in 2021, albeit at a slightly slower rate, with projected consumption growing by 0.7% to 44.1kgs (97lbs).