In their search for value, consumers continue to buy more thighs and drumsticks, according to Tom Super, spokesperson for the National Chicken Council.

“The popularity of boneless/skinless breast meat is not waning," Super said. "It’s just that consumers are becoming much more open to include all parts of chicken in their meals.”

As long as prices continue to be higher than usual, consumers will continue to gravitate to retail over foodservice.

Retailers would do well, Super said, to make sure their websites, in-store magazines, and other customer touch points feature plenty of recipes and tips on how to make their favorite restaurant meals at home.

Year over year, the fresh chicken category outpaces the growth of all other proteins, according to Perdue, and a lot of that has to do with price.

“We’ve seen consumers eager for less expensive yet still nutritious meals, due to the current economy,” said a Perdue spokesperson. “This has translated into consumers prioritizing chicken over other proteins, as it is typically less expensive.”

Within the chicken category, budget-minded consumers are buying more family/bulk packs and choosing less expensive cuts of meat like dark or ground meat.

With lingering inflation, Wayne-Sanderson Farms has definitely seen a shift in demand to more price-sensitive cuts, said David Gadd, vice president of retail sales. That should continue to be the case in 2024.

The company has adjusted in part by prioritizing production time within its facilities to accommodate shifts in demand for lower-cost cuts of chicken, Gadd said.

This article is an excerpt from the February 2024 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Chicken feature and more in the digital edition here.