When You Hear There’s Another Ag Supply Chain Issue:

May 11, 2021

There’s another shortage in the agrifood value chain, and this one is sure to ruffle some feathers.

The culprit: chicken.

Boneless chicken breast is now selling for $2.04 per pound, more than double the $1 per pound wholesale price from 2020. But it isn’t just high prices causing drama. For some restaurant operators, they simply can’t find a supplier with chicken to spare.

Rewind: Some experts point back to 2019 as the start of the issue. At the time, Popeye’s had kicked off the #ChickenWars when they launched their new chicken sandwich.

Not to be outdone, others joined the chicken sandwich race, with foodservice behemoth McDonald’s even launching some new crispy chicken options this past February.

When you add the increase in overall chicken consumption plus the lingering production constraints from pandemic-related slowdowns, the supply situation has gotten dicey.

So…what’s next? U.S. chicken production was down 3% in the first quarter of the year, according to the National Chicken Council. But data points to an uptick in output soon. Production is up year-over-year – jumping 9% in April alone – and it’s expected to continue to climb in the coming weeks.

But in the meantime, expect your favorite chicken sandwich to not be as friendly on the wallet.