Chicken thighs are the brand new wings on a rising variety of restaurant menus as meals costs proceed to soar.
The less-desirable darker meat – which is half as costly as wing and breast meat – is debuting on menus throughout the nation with suppliers reporting double-digit gross sales will increase for thigh meat, based on a report.
Perdue Farms’ gross sales of boneless thigh meat spiked by 15 p.c in 2021 whereas floor rooster – which is constituted of darker meat – went up by 20 p.c, based on The Wall Street Journal.
“That demand has been spectacular,” Mark McKay, president of contemporary poultry at Perdue, informed the Journal.
Some of that demand is coming from chains like Wingstop, which launched “Thighstop” to its digital menu in June — and the 900-store chain has plans to make thighs a fair larger a part of its choices.
“We believe we can make thighs a center of the plate item,” chief government Charlie Morrison informed traders in November.
Other chains, together with Modern Market Eatery and Just Salad and Wing it On, additionally began promoting thighs through the pandemic as wings turned tough and dearer to supply on account of labor shortages and the quick meals rooster sandwich wars.
Poultry conglomerate Tyson Foods is additionally seeing surging demand for thigh and darkish meats, that are sometimes exported to different international locations as a result of Americans favor chicken.
The meat producer mentioned in August that it’s ramping up its automation capabilities for deboning dark-meat merchandise.
The darker meats give meals service operations an “alternative to wings and breast meat,” Tyson informed The Journal.
The value differential is important. Boneless, skinless rooster breast has shot as much as $2 a pound from slightly below $1 a pound in late 2020 whereas thighs value about 54 cents a pound in comparison with 26 cents a year in the past, based on market analysis agency Urner Barry.
Still, thighs will not be generally featured at US eating places, with simply 2 p.c of menus providing a thigh possibility, based on the report.
But as meals inflation marches on into 2022 – with no sign of ending – extra chains may very well be cooking up new plans to offer thighs a starring role.