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Don’t Let the Chicken Shortage Ruffle Feathers

Don’t Let the Chicken Shortage Ruffle Feathers
The chicken shortage in 2021 has businesses and consumers scrambling to find solutions. Understand what causes led to the chicken shortage and what solutions are available.
Harriet Daniels
August 11, 2021
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Last Modified: December 29, 2021

Where is the chicken? No Super Bowl chicken wings, no boneless chicken breast meat, no fryer parts? If you haven’t noticed, the selection of chicken at your favorite grocery store or restaurant menu have decreased in recent months. The lucky ones able to locate chicken often have ruffled feathers from sticker shock at the price increase. While it may be challenging to enjoy a few favorite dishes, don’t let the chicken shortage ruffle your feathers.

The industry is working hard to rebound from a number of factors that have contributed to the nationwide chicken shortage which experienced production issues related to the pandemic and then the fast food chicken sandwich wars. Since chicken plays a starring role in many U.S. recipes, importing has become a top solution to keep up with the high demand. However, there are strict USDA guidelines when it comes to importing any food product into the US. There is extra scrutiny to ensure chicken imports meet the same standards as US products.

Importing chicken helps solve the shortage of supplying the ever popular wing to feed the masses while enjoying favorite sporting events or just putting dinner on the table. There is a lot to know about the entire importing process when it comes to chicken. Here is some key information that will help you understand the scope of the chicken shortage, how the industry is coping and rebounding and how importing is one of the solutions to the problem. 

Looking to Import Chicken?

Our food import specialists can guide you through the process of what's required to safely import chicken into the U.S.

Why Is There a Chicken Shortage?

Why Is There a Chicken Shortage?

The taste buds are craving an order of Buffalo wings but they are not on the menu because of supply shortages. So what’s a hungry diner supposed to do? Likely the first thing is to ask the question: why is there a chicken shortage? Well, within the past year or so, there has been an overall shortage of meat as the world dealt with the global pandemic. In recent months, the chicken shortage has made headline news as consumers were finding it hard to stock up at home on chicken nuggets, chicken wings and other products which are favorite meal options for kids. 

Add to the mix the return of patrons to local sports bars for restaurants and other venues where wings dipped in a multitude of sauces ranks supreme but supplies are dwindling; there are bound to be some ruffled feathers. The National Chicken Council estimates that US consumers will eat 97.8 pounds of chicken per capita this year. That’s a lot of chicken. 

The pandemic, coupled with weather events have caused breaks in the nations chicken chain. National Chicken Council spokesman Tom Super recently told USA Today, “there was a “very tight supply but short of a shortage.” 

“Yes, supply is somewhat tight, but the sky certainly isn’t falling," Super said. “Chicken producers are doing everything they can to overcome the devastating impact of Mother Nature when she inflicted the once-in-a-lifetime winter storm on Texas and nearby states – major chicken producing regions.”

According to the NCC, the US produced 9.222 billion broilers which were raised for food in 2020.

Top Chicken Production States

The top chicken production states are:

  • Georgia - 1.3 million
  • Arkansas – 1.049 million
  • Alabama – 1.2 million
  • North Carolina – 961,300
  • Mississippi – 732,200
  • Texas – 702,500
  • Kentucky – 299,000
  • Missouri – 292,1000

What Is the Impact of The 2021 Chicken Shortage?

What Is the Impact of The 2021 Chicken Shortage?

Large producers like Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride and Sanderson Farm and others faced a number of challenges during the pandemic including some forced to close operations for a period of time. As the supply chains begin to rebound, the impact of winter storms knocked production off line in the aftermath.

All while diners still wanted wings, chicken salad or grilled chicken for meals to feed hungry appetites. And soaring prices at the cash register have made some re-examine the family budget and meals for the week, while others have binge shopped to stock up home freezers. 

Over the course of the last year, the average price of wings went from $2.84 per pound to nearly $4.00 per pound in 2021. In addition, items like a bag of leg quarters have gone from about .93 cents per pound to $2.11 and climbing in 2021.

Looking to Import Chicken?

Our food import specialists can guide you through the process of what's required to safely import chicken into the U.S.

How Are Restaurants and Grocery Stores Winging the Chicken Shortage?

The ongoing chicken sandwich wars between the fast food giants has spiked in recent months and as supplies have decreased somewhat, the promotions have subtly scaled back too. Grocery stores have also scaled back on frequent in-store sales of chicken to accommodate for the low supply levels. 

So now if wing night at your favorite sports bar turns into nacho night you’ll know what is going on related to the chicken shortage.

What Is the Best Recipe to Import Chicken?

In dealing with chicken shortage, restaurants and grocery stores are relying more on importing products. The USDA regulates the food supply and what can be imported to ensure quality and safety. 

Take a look at our Comprehensive Guide to Importing Meat Into the US to learn what it takes to keep up with the demand of chicken and overcome the shortage.

USA Customs Clearance Helps Solve the Chicken Shortage

In dealing with the chicken shortage, there are several supply chain strategies that can be used to keep imported products moving smoothly. The team at USA Customs Clearance, powered by AFC International, is ready to put their expertise to work for you and help you find solutions. 

Navigating the process of importing chicken, like other food items, can be challenging if you don’t understand what it takes to obtain a customs bond and get approval from all the agencies who must sign off on the documentation. Let us help with each step of the process to ensure nothing is overlooked which ultimately saves money and time. We create the perfect solution to suit your needs. 

Reach out today for one-on-one assistance from our team of experts to answer your importing questions. We’re here to guide you through the importing process and make sure you are armed with the information to pivot during the chicken shortage to make sure no one’s feathers are ruffled. Access the tools you need to navigate customs with ease. Call 855-912-0406 today to obtain a customs bond or schedule a consulting session.

Chicken imports require a customs bond

Get your bond today to ensure your import avoids issues
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