Survey Says US Consumers Flock to Chicken, the #1 Protein During Time of Coronavirus Chaos

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Throughout the last year, as home kitchens took center stage in the United States, consumers have been relying on chicken as a healthy and convenient protein that can be enjoyed by everyone. In fact, three-quarters (75%) of Americans who eat any chicken say they prepare it at home at least once a week. During the past nine months of enduring the Covid-19 health crisis, retail chicken sales have increased $1.3 billion, up 19.5% from the same period last year, according to IRI and 210 Analytics.

The Washington, DC-based National Chicken Council (NCC) has unveiled the findings of a new survey fielded with the goal of better understanding chicken consumption trends and preferences in the USA. Along with a host of interesting metrics, the survey includes insight into the impact of the pandemic on poultry consumption habits, showing that half (50%) of Americans who eat chicken say they have eaten it more than any other protein since the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic struck.

Chicken has been especially popular during the Covid-19 calamity because it’s easy to prepare and great for meal prepping. A staple of many diverse meals, there is no question that it is a versatile protein. Nearly half (48%) of survey respondents say they have increased the amount of chicken they prepared at home during the pandemic, while 39% said they increased the ways they prepare chicken. No matter how Americans prefer it, chicken is an easy meal to prepare and is convenient for meal prepping, especially as folks are spending more time than ever at home. Twitter users would agree, as ‘chicken’ has also been the most Tweeted about food during the pandemic months.

Chicken could be the way to a happy holiday, with half of Americans agreeing they’d prefer chicken to other proteins during festive winter celebrations.

With the pandemic shifting many holiday plans, people are finding innovative ways to reinvent their traditional celebratory meals. Half of Americans who eat chicken at all say they’d prefer it to ham (52%) or turkey (49%) at a holiday meal.  And more than half would eat chicken wings as part of Thanksgiving (57%) or Christmas (61%) dinner.

Based on the survey, it is clear Americans prefer chicken. But when it comes to other chicken decisions, consumers are split. Approximately one half (52%) of Americans prefer grilled chicken while the other would opt for fried (48%). Americans also just barely prefer boneless wings (53%) to traditional bone-in wings. Plus, two in five Americans say that the breast is their favorite cut of chicken, but wing (20%), thigh (17%) and drumstick (14%) are also fierce competitors. Three-quarters (74%) of chicken eaters would opt to eat real chicken rather than plant-based alternatives.

The “US Chicken Survey,” conducted by Ketchum Analytics and fielded online by LUCID with a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of +/-3.1%, ran from October 24- 27, 2020. The study was derived from a sample of 999 Americans who eat chicken.

“With everyone adjusting to a new way of life this year, chicken has been a reliable source of nutritious protein in an unpredictable time,” said NCC spokesman Tom Super. “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.”