NCC survey finds that more Americans are eating chicken during the pandemic

A survey conducted by the National Chicken Council finds that half of Americans eat more chicken than any other protein during the COVID-19 pandemic.
calendar icon 19 November 2020
clock icon 4 minute read

Throughout 2020 – as home kitchens took centre stage -- Americans have been relying on chicken as a healthy and convenient protein that can be enjoyed by everyone. In fact, three-quarters (75 percent) of Americans who eat any chicken say they prepare chicken at home at least once a week. During the past 9 months of COVID-19, retail chicken sales have increased $1.3B, up 19.5 percent from the same period last year, according to IRI and 210 Analytics.

The National Chicken Council (NCC) unveiled the findings of a new survey fielded with the goal of better understanding chicken consumption trends and preferences in the United States. Along with a host of interesting metrics, the survey includes insight into the impact of the pandemic on chicken consumption habits, showing that half (50 percent) of Americans who eat chicken say they have eaten it more than any other protein during COVID-19.

Chicken has been popular during COVID-19 because it’s easy to prepare and great for meal prepping

A staple of many diverse meals, it is no question that chicken is a versatile protein. Nearly half (48 percent) of survey respondents say they increased the amount of chicken they prepared at home during the pandemic, while 39 percent said they increased the ways they prepare chicken. No matter how Americans prefer it, chicken is an easy meal to prepare and is perfect for meal prepping, especially when we are spending more time than ever at home. Twitter users would agree, as "chicken" has also been the most Tweeted about food during the pandemic months.

Chicken could be the way to a happy holiday, with half of Americans agreeing they’d prefer chicken to other proteins during the holidays

With the pandemic shifting many holiday plans, people are finding innovative ways to reinvent their traditional celebratory meals. Half of Americans who eat chicken at all say they’d prefer chicken to ham (52 percent) or turkey (49 percent) at a holiday meal. And more than half would eat chicken wings as part of Thanksgiving (57 percent) or Christmas (61 percent) dinner.

The NCC survey also shows 56 percent of chicken eaters would be happy to get chicken as a holiday gift. We recommend keeping it out of the stockings (for obvious reasons).

Chicken is the preferred protein

Based on the survey, it is clear Americans prefer chicken. But when it comes to other chicken decisions, Americans are split. Approximately one half (52 percent) of Americans prefer grilled chicken while the other would opt for fried (48 percent). Americans also just barely prefer boneless wings (53 percent) over traditional bone-in wings. Plus, two in five Americans say that the breast is their favourite cut of chicken, but wing (20 percent), thigh (17 percent) and drumstick (14 percent) are also fierce competitors. Three-quarters (74 percent) of chicken eaters would prefer to eat real chicken over plant-based alternatives.

“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 Council spokesman Tom Super. “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.”

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