(ETH) – Chicken-sandwich fever means poultry is pacing U.S. food inflation in the meat case. U.S. producer prices for processed poultry jumped to an all-time high in May, climbing 2.1% in the eighth straight monthly increase, U.S. government data showed Tuesday. Gains in poultry outpaced the 0.8% increase in the broader producer price index.
The surge comes after several large fast-food restaurant chains recently launched fried chicken sandwiches in a bid to match Popeyes’ 2019 viral success. Sales have also surged with consumers preparing more meals at home during the pandemic. Meanwhile, poultry producers have struggled to keep up with the growing demand, with labor shortages at meat plants and severe winter storms that killed thousands of birds constricting chicken supplies.
McDonald’s Corp., KFC, and Burger King have all recently introduced new chicken sandwiches. At U.S. restaurants, orders for chicken entrees were up 4% for the year ending in April 2021, according to market researcher NPD Group.
Beef orders were down 14% and pork was down 18%. While chicken prices are at all-time highs, prices for beef are still below the peaks set during the 2020 Covid-19 outbreak that shuttered American meat plants, and pork values are below records from 2014 that came during a swine disease outbreak. READ MORE