Popeyes Is Stockpiling Chicken Meat Amid Shortages and Inflation — Here’s Why

Popeyes Chicken sandwich
Eric Gay/AP / Shutterstock.com

Popeyes, the popular fast-food chain known for its fried chicken sandwich, has announced plans to launch a new nugget product amid chicken shortages. Popeyes, owned by Restaurant Brands International Inc., has been stockpiling its frozen-chicken inventory for more than six months, said Popeyes Americas President Sami Siddiqui in an interview, as reported by Bloomberg. The company plans to roll out the nuggets nationwide on July 27.

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Chicken offerings have been the focus of almost every fast-food brand, making 2021 the year of “the chicken sandwich wars.” Within the past year, Business Insider reported seven fast-food chains have experimented with or released a new chicken product. However, USA Today noted that these chicken wars during the pandemic have made poultry scarce and expensive, even causing some restaurants to run out or limit chicken products.

Bloomberg pointed out that stockpiling, which goes against the industry’s typical inventory strategy, also goes against the actions companies are taking to keep supplies steady. “Demand is very high right now, and consumer spending is surging,” Siddiqui said, as reported by Bloomberg. “We’re planning appropriately.”

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After Popeyes released its chicken sandwich in 2019, the company temporarily ran out of the product. When it was available, there were traffic jams and fistfights at some locations.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, chicken slaughter was down 4% in the first quarter of 2021, with pounds produced down 3%. National Chicken Council spokesman Tom Super told USA Today that production began picking back up in early April and there’s been an increase in production.

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Chicken prices for producers have continued to grow — up 2.1% in May, the eighth straight monthly increase, added Bloomberg. “We work really closely with our suppliers,” Siddiqui assured. “Supply chains are ramping up.”

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Last updated: July 14, 2021


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