CHICAGO - For years many
fast-food burger chains pretty much ignored chicken. Sure, it appeared in
nuggets and the occasional chicken sandwich, but that��s about it, Time reports.
Nowadays, the white meat
has made a comeback. QSRs and casual-dining restaurants are embracing the bird,
adding premium chicken options on their menus. "Gourmet chicken menu items at
quick service restaurants are a popular trend right now," agreed Bonnie Riggs,
restaurant industry analyst at NPD Group.
A few months ago,
McDonald��s debuted its chicken McBites. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen added six new
dipping sauces to its Handcrafted Chicken Tenders. "Chains are emphasizing
quality with terms like 'all white meat,�� and 'whole pieces,��" pointed out
Kathy Hayden, a Mintel Menu Insights foodservice analyst.
White Castle has added
three grilled chicken sliders, while Burger King launched premium chicken
sandwiches and popcorn chicken bites. "Chicken has been in very high demand��You
have to be in the chicken game if you��re going to be successful, regardless of
price," said Darren Tristano, Technomic executive vice president, in a Nation��s Restaurant News article.
The poultry push has two
main drivers: the cheaper cost of chicken over beef, and the healthful profile
of white meat. "Chicken, whether it��s grilled or fried, has a healthier halo
than beef," said Riggs.