Food & Drink | May 1, 2021 7:30 am

Oh My God, We Ate All the Chickens

Peak chicken sandwich may be upon us

Watch out, little buddy.
Hannah Oliver/Unsplash

What happens when multiple fast food chains go all-in on touting their next-generation chicken sandwiches? Well, for starters, fans of fried chicken sandwiches have something to embrace. In the last year, both KFC and McDonald’s launched new or revamped sandwiches to compete with Popeye’s and Chick-fil-A. And, according to a recent CNBC article, they’re all selling very well. So: good news for chicken sandwich fans and good news for fast food chains.

Who’s it bad news for? You guessed it — the chickens.

Bloomberg reports that the country might be facing a fast food chicken shortage — both from chicken sandwiches and from other meal items like chicken tenders. Are Americans devouring chickens at an unsustainable rate? Is the combination of a pandemic and delicious, high-profile comfort food potentially explosive? The answer appears to be: maybe.

The CEO of Yum! Brands, David Gibbs, addressed the chicken shortage on an earnings call on Wednesday. “Demand for the new sandwich has been so strong that, coupled with general tightening in domestic chicken supply, our main challenge has been keeping up with that demand,” Gibbs said.

As Bloomberg reports, one of the challenges prompting the shortages is a dearth of employees at food processing plants, which the companies plan to address. It sounds like we’ll also be seeing a Beyond Meat chicken alternative later this summer. Could a delicious fried chicken sandwich be made with no chicken at all? Never underestimate what science can do.