WASHINGTON – Chicken is emerging as the animal protein of choice among in-home cooks, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey of US consumers from the National Chicken Council (NCC). The “US Chicken Survey,” conducted by Ketchum Analytics on behalf of the NCC found that 50% of chicken-eating consumers in the United States have eaten it more than other protein in the past nine months. Seventy-five percent of chicken eaters said they cook chicken at home at least once a week. Consumers’ growing appetite for chicken is reflected by an increase in sales of $1.3 billion over the same nine-month period of 2019, a 19.5% increase according to IRI and 210 Analytics.

According to the NCC, chicken’s versatility and ease of preparation is part of the reason more than half of survey respondents said chicken would be their center-of-the-plate protein of choice for holiday meals. Given the choice, more consumers said they would prefer chicken over ham (52%) or turkey (49%) as the main protein at a holiday meal. Chicken wings also earned a seat at the holiday dinner table, according to the survey. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they would eat chicken wings as part of their Christmas dinner and 57% said they would welcome wings as part of their Thanksgiving spread.

“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 Tom Super, NCC spokesperson. “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.”

Other survey results included:

  • Approximately half (52%) of Americans prefer grilled chicken versus fried.
  • When it comes to chicken wings, Americans favor boneless wings (53%) over traditional bone-in wings.
  • Breast meat is the favorite part of the chicken for almost half of Americans compared to wings (20%), thighs (17%) and drumsticks (14%).
  • Most chicken eaters (74%) would choose to eat real chicken over plant-based alternatives.