As Chicken Demand Soars, Dark Meat Appeals

Jan. 4, 2022
As demand for chicken soars in all channels, dark meat is becoming increasingly in demand as an alternative to scarce breasts and wings.

As demand for chicken soars in all channels, dark meat is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to scarce breasts and wings.

Major poultry processors report increased demand for thighs and dark meat in general. Perdue Farms told the Wall Street Journal that sales of boneless thighs were up 15%, and of ground chicken, which is mostly dark meat, up 20%. Tyson Foods also reports high demand, and has announced plans to increase its use of automation for deboning dark meat.

Restaurateurs are trying to figure out how to adjust to the situation. The Journal spoke with the head of a 10-unit chicken-wing chain called “Wing It On,” who developed “thigh wings” last spring; about seven months later, the national chain Wingstop developed “Thighstop,” a brand centered on thigh products.

Meat companies are trying to interest consumers in the culinary potential of chicken thighs. “Consumers want something more robust,” a Perdue executive told the Journal.

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