Chicken shops move up the pecking order

Healthier options and a focus on animal welfare have led to a rise in the number of people visiting chicken shops and burger joints, according to Mintel.

However, 44% of diners would like to see more dishes with meat alternatives and substitutes, with interest peaking amongst 25-34 year olds (60%).

In reality, veganism (and even vegetarianism) is still very low down on British consumers’ dining out priorities, with only 9% citing vegan foods as something they would like to see more of when dining out.

“An improvement in the animal welfare of chickens is helping to attract a more affluent clientele to chicken restaurants and outlets, with chicken meals typically costing more than other fast food choices,” said Trish Caddy, senior foodservice analyst at Mintel.

KFC was this year’s big mover on chicken welfare after it publicly committed to the Better Chicken Commitment in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Germany. Sodexo and Compass have also put their names to the scheme.

However, the National Farmers’ Union said the commitments are placing significant pressure on the sector. An article in Poultry Business last month highlighted that, whilst it is right to continuously scrutinise and improve standards, the commitment “does not recognise the advancements in poultry farming and fails to reflect on the latest scientific evidences”. The NFU also claimed that the scheme has helped inspire an increase in farm break-ins and undercover reporting.

This year, consumers are set to devour £7.5 billion worth of burgers and chicken across Britain’s restaurants and outlets, said Mintel.

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