BELOIT, WIS. – Chicken appeal is making quite a flap on restaurant menus and among the growing number of consumers eating more meals at home. The variety of formats chicken can be served in appeals to a diverse range of consumers that transcends age, ethnicity, taste preference and meal occasion, according to a new report from Kerry. In its recently released culinary update, “Crispy, Crunchy, Craveable Chicken: Winning On & Off the Menu,” the ingredient company spotlighted the opportunities available to retailers and foodservice operators to launch a chicken program to appeal to today’s shoppers and diners.

“The foodservice ‘chicken wars’ has revitalized chicken with consumers,” said Amy Devitt, senior marketing specialist at Kerry. “With the new-found interest in elevated offerings, as well as the forecasted 2020 per capita consumption of chicken in the US being just under 99 lbs, chicken is positioned well for innovation and formulation growth across retail and foodservice.”

Formats that include sandwiches, chicken wings, nuggets tenders and as a center-of-the-plate protein present opportunities for growth and formulating with chicken makes it a protein with significant growth potential for R&D professionals, according to Kerry.

The consumer appeal of chicken pointed out in the report includes its widespread acceptance (demographic agnostic), versatility in delivering other flavors and cuisine (gateway to taste exploration), health and wellness (healthy halo) and its overall versatility.

The report points out that these attributes contribute to chicken’s sales growth of 37% between March and June of 2020 versus the same period last year. In foodservice, “Penetration of chicken on the menu remained steady at 95.5% over the past five years,” the report said, with fried chicken and chicken wings fueling that growth.

Culinary experts agree that the opportunity for new product innovation using chicken is abundant.

“The best way to create innovation in this space is by layering in flavors from the substrate to the final batter or coating,” said Kerry’s Chef Danny Bruns, director of culinary innovation for North America, in the report.

 Devitt added that the report highlights opportunities for success using chicken in the home and on the menu and includes trends that indicate why the time is right for chicken to fly off menus and onto consumers’ plates.

“This report reinforces that Kerry is the complete and trusted partner when it comes to chicken,” Devitt said, “with a research-driven and culinary-inspired approach to our technology portfolio.”