Study finds U.S. chicken consumption on the rise

recessionbusters-headerU.S. chicken consumption is something to cluck about. That’s because new research shows an increase in the amount of chicken consumers are eating in restaurants and buying in stores.

The information stems from a survey conducted for the National Chicken Council from May 29 through June 1 among more than 1,000 adults.

The survey found that the average number of chicken meals or snacks that participants ate in the two weeks prior to the survey was 6.1. That represents an increase of 17 percent from 2012 findings.

“This doesn’t surprise me,” said poultry farmer Robert Mills, interim chairman of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Poultry Advisory Committee. “At home, my family eats more chicken than any other protein.”

Mills, who farms in Pittsylvania County, added that the poultry industry has done a good job offering a diversity of products and offering consumers pre-packaged, easy-to-prepare meals for busy families.

“The results of this survey are important for chicken producers, because it shows there is still plenty of demand for that product—and for reasons other than price” said Tony Banks, VFBF commodity marketing specialist.

Thirty-four percent of respondents said their primary reason for eating chicken they bought in a grocery store was health and nutrition. Thirty-two percent said it was taste, and 17 percent said they buy more chicken because of cost.

“The poultry industry has done an excellent job of providing a consistent, high-quality product that is very consumer-friendly, whether it’s a ready-to-eat product or a poultry cut that consumers can prepare as they choose,” Banks said.

The survey also determined that one in five respondents were likely to buy more chicken at restaurants and other food service businesses. Twenty-five percent said the primary reason for doing so is taste and 24 percent said it is health and nutrition.

“You can do a lot more with chicken now than you ever could,” Mills said.

Overall, nine out of 10 respondents had eaten chicken in the two weeks prior to the survey. And the survey found that men, younger adults and those with at least three people in the household were more likely to increase their chicken consumption.

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