Food & Drink | February 28, 2020 11:48 am

The Chicken Sandwich Wars May Save the US Poultry Industry

The ongoing chicken-sandwich war has poultry companies producing at a manic pace

The Year of the Chicken Sandwich Boosting US Poultry Industry?
The Popeyes chicken sandwich. (Popeyes)

Feeling pressure to compete with up-and-coming chicken contender Chick-fil-A, Popeyes, McDonald’s and KFC all rolled out new chicken sandwiches in 2019.

Hence, some have dubbed 2019 the Year of the Chicken Sandwich.

U.S. poultry producers may eventually refer to 2019 as something else entirely: the year that saved their industry.

Thanks to the demand ongoing the chicken-sandwich war among fast-food companies has created, the oversupplied U.S. poultry industry may be getting the “bailout” it needs in 2020, a prominent chicken industry executive told Bloomberg.

Joe Sanderson Jr., chief executive officer of American chicken giant Sanderson Farms Inc., told the publication that U.S. chicken companies are running production at an increased pace as food sellers are rapidly buying up their wares and storing them for future promotions in the spring.

In order to compete, other fast-food restaurants “have to get into the ball game,” according to Sanderson. “They cannot sit still and allow two people to dominate the chicken-sandwich segment,” he said.

Despite the increase in production, little chickens (around four or five pounds) are in short supply. The reason for that is smaller birds have quarter-pound breasts that fit perfectly inside the buns which are used for chicken sandwiches.

To compensate, producers like Sanderson Farms are carving out smaller pieces from the breasts of larger chickens.

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