Chicken demand rises as pandemic restrictions lift
DELMARVA.- Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner! That’s the words many dining services may hear as restrictions are lifted and demand for chicken across Delmarva continues to grow.
Chicken in America is now the most affordable protein and as the industry is starting to see normalcy again, we’re told this may bring some challenges. “Getting that mix right is the challenge right now and that’s what chicken companies are working really hard to do. We know how many people in the country rely on the food we produce,” said Delmarva Chicken Association’s James Fisher.
Prior to the pandemic, experts say that most product was given to grocery stores. Now that things are opening up, it’s being split with restaurants and other dining services.
However, another big factor is production since demand is changing so rapidly. “So if you are a company eight months ago you were selling x amount of chicken all of a sudden the restrictions are lifted and now everybody’s calling and saying hey we want chicken, we want chicken but you can’t just bring production up like that. It doesn’t work that way,” said Farmer Virgil Shockley.
He adds companies needs 6-8 months to catch back up to what was normal prior to the pandemic. Due to this backlog, consumers may be in for a few changes in the future. “Perhaps you won’t see a shortage but you’re going to probably see prices go up and you may not be able to get exactly what you want,” said Shockley.
Despite this, Industry experts say that don’t see the demand for chicken leaving anytime soon. “You have different food websites making sweet 16 and final 4 brackets of what’s the best fried chicken sandwich is out there I think its gonna keep demand for chicken pretty high and we’re working to beat that,” said Fisher.
Delmarva Chicken Association also says that things seem to be looking up in the next coming months as transportation networks are coming back to normal which makes them optimistic for the future.