U.S. chicken consumption remains high, and consumers are hungry for more information about the chicken they purchase, according to a survey commissioned by the National Chicken Council (NCC), Washington, D.C.
The survey was conducted online by ORC International, Princeton, N.J., among 1,004 adults from June 4-7.
In the two weeks leading up to the survey, 86% of consumers ate a chicken meal or snack purchased from a supermarket, while 68% ate a chicken meal or snack from a foodservice establishment. Both supermarket and foodservice establishment consumption numbers increased, 2.3% and 1.5% respectively, and are at parity with those seen in 2016.
Consumers will buy more chicken if given useful information
The majority of consumers (89%) want more information about the chicken they buy and eat, and 57% would look for that information on the product package. And, if provided with more information on these and other aspects, 62% would purchase more chicken.
“They want information about how freshness is communicated, how best to cook chicken and what the label claims mean,” says Tom Super, senior vice president of communications of NCC. “Consumers are asking for more transparency and information that will make them confident in their chicken purchases. That is exactly the impetus for creating NCC’s Chicken Check In campaign, which invites consumers to see how chickens are raised and produced in the U.S. We’re proud to give a close look at our birds, their lives and how they get to our dinner tables.”
Food safety concerns continue to influence chicken purchase decisions, and when prompted, consumers are significantly more concerned this year about chicken purchase considerations than in any other year. The majority would be more likely to purchase chicken if their concerns were addressed.
Consumers see chicken as versatile and convenient
Consumers purchase chicken over other proteins because it is versatile and convenient. Furthermore, they anticipate increasing their overall chicken consumption in the next 12 months. Twenty-nine percent of consumers anticipate eating more chicken from the supermarket and 19% anticipate eating more from a foodservice establishment.
However, fewer survey respondents are citing health benefits as the reason they choose chicken over other types of meat. While more than half of chicken consumers said they never choose plant-based proteins over chicken, those that do see plant-based proteins as a healthy alternative (and nearly two out of three) say their choice is at least sometimes influenced by a dining partner’s choice of a vegetarian meal.
Funding for this survey was provided by Elanco, Greenfield, Ind.; Truow Nutrition, The Netherlands; WATT Global Media, Rockford, Ill.; and IRI, Chicago.