Chicken outpacing beef on the menu

by Staff
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CHCAGO — Chicken is becoming more popular than beef on the restaurant menu, according to Mintel Menu Insights.

“We expect restaurants to start focusing their attention on other proteins,” said Kathy Hayden, food service analyst at Mintel. “Steakhouses have been struggling in this rough economy and have tried to compensate by offering smaller cuts or more ‘surf and turf’ options, but ultimately chicken menu innovation is giving restaurant-goers a fresh and less expensive option while dining out.”

The number of U.S. menu items with poultry as an ingredient has climbed an average of 12% in the past three years and is expected to continue to increase. The greatest growth has been in casual dining and fast-causal eateries.

Chicken fingers are the top poultry dish, showing a 10% increase on menus from the first quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2012. Buffalo wings are also increasing in popularity with a 19% increase on menus during the same time. Chicken sandwiches have seen declines, but chicken wraps are making up for the difference. Chicken snacks, such as McDonald’s Chicken McBites, have also increased in popularity.

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