ATLANTA - Apparently, Americans have been craving fried chicken that can be dipped like chips, the Wall Street Journal reports. Restaurants have been introducing new "dunkable" chicken dishes, including Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen€™s "Rip€™n Chick€™n" €" chicken tenders cut into pull-apart strips that are easy to rip and dip.
These dipping chicken items are part of an overall trend to have easily transportable menu items. Dip€™n Chick€™n, another Popeyes offer, is a snack designed to be consumed "just like chips and dip," said Dick Lynch, global chief brand officer for Popeyes. The item was introduced last year as a limited-time product, becoming a best-seller. "That was the birth of the 'ip'ns,' " he said.
"Americans eat more on the go than anywhere else in the world," with no signs that the trend is fading, said Wade Thoma, vice president of the menu innovation team for McDonald€™s USA.
Driving the dipping chicken trend is the growing number of consumers who snack between meals. Many fast-food chains have a snackable, dunkable chicken item on the menu. For instance, Whataburger has its Whatachick€™n Bites, KFC offers Popcorn Chicken and White Castle serves Chicken Rings. McDonald€™s introduced Chicken McBites earlier this year, with a spicy version debuting next week.
Part of the appeal is the sauces, which allow consumers to customize their order. "A big part of our research told us that what you dip them in is just as important as the flavor of the chicken," said Rich Scheffler group director of marketing and innovation for Whataburger.