What's clucking: poul­try's pop­u­lar­ity on the rise

Year-on-year sales in the chicken in­dus­try are ris­ing, with fore­casts in­di­cat­ing that growth rates will be sus­tained in 2018. Maya Bek­hazi Noun, founder and manag­ing direc­tor of Food Stu­dio, tells us why poul­try’s pop­u­lar­ity is on the rise

Hospitality News Middle East - - CONTENTS - food-gallery.com

Some have de­clared chicken the ‘dish of the year’ - that must-have, com­fort food ev­ery­one yearns for. Yet the pub­lic’s love for chicken is cer­tainly not new; in fact, it has been grow­ing steadily in re­cent years.

We have wit­nessed a real in­crease in niche chicken restau­rants, while con­cepts are hatch­ing ev­ery­where, of­fer­ing a va­ri­ety of roast or char­grilled chicken op­tions, sand­wiches and even the Mediter­ranean-style shawarma.

Con­sumers are flock­ing to th­ese niche restau­rants and sub­sti­tut­ing meat with chicken. So, what’s driv­ing this trend?

The rise and rise of chicken can be largely at­trib­uted to two fac­tors:

The health fac­tor

Un­doubt­edly, study af­ter study from the sci­ence com­mu­nity warn­ing of the dan­gers of sat­u­rated fat, which is found in red meat, has helped to boost chicken con­sump­tion. The fast­food chains have jumped on this.

The so­cio-eco­nomic and de­mo­graphic fac­tor

So­cio-eco­nomic and de­mo­graphic vari­ables can have a ma­jor im­pact on de­mand for food, in­clud­ing chicken, meat and fish. Across many stud­ies, and ac­count­ing for all vari­ables, poul­try con­tin­ues to come out as an es­sen­tial food prod­uct among those sur­veyed in all cat­e­gories of in­come and age.

While beef, mut­ton and fish are con­sid­ered lux­ury items, poul­try is viewed as not only a bet­ter re­place­ment, but also a ne­ces­sity among all groups of con­sumers. Steady, af­ford­able prices have helped chicken to in­crease its mar­ket share world­wide.

Poul­try con­tin­ues to come out as an es­sen­tial food prod­uct among those sur­veyed in all cat­e­gories of in­come and age

In some parts of the world, es­pe­cially coun­tries in eastern and south­east­ern Asia, pork re­mains the num­ber one sub­sti­tute for beef, with chicken plac­ing sec­ond. How­ever, in Mid­dle Eastern and Gulf coun­tries, where some re­li­gions pro­hibit the con­sump­tion of pork, chicken is the num­ber one sub­sti­tute when price is the key fac­tor, and shares top place with fish when health is the cri­te­ria. In fact, the only Arab coun­tries where meat (beef and mut­ton) con­sump­tion re­mains rel­a­tively high are the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Ara­bia, mir­ror­ing their higher lev­els of GDP.

Go­ing to the source

The poul­try seg­ment has also had to adapt to de­mand for trans­parency across the in­dus­try, en­com­pass­ing ar­eas such as full dis­clo­sure in food pro­duc­tion and slow-growth prac­tices, which to­day’s con­sumers are de­mand­ing. Cus­tomers are seek­ing more from prod­uct la­bel­ing; they want the truth be­hind their food and are ask­ing more ques­tions, such as whether the prod­ucts they are buy­ing are Gmo-free, fair trade, hu­manely kept and re­spon­si­bly pro­duced. Where and how chick­ens are raised is one piece of the puz­zle that to­day’s con­sumers are in­sist­ing on putting to­gether in their quest to be ut­terly in­formed about their food.

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