NEW YORK - Amid a persistently weak global economy, McDonaldï¿½ï¿½s CEO Don Thompson is looking to add more chicken-based menu items, Bloomberg reports.
The chicken infusion is designed to appeal to cash-conscious consumers, a strategy that is playing out well with existing menu items.
"Some great examples include our large wrap in Europe and snack items like Chicken McBites," Thompson said. "Our customers have given us permission to stretch our brand, so we are entering new categories with new products."
Chicken costs less than other proteins, according to Bryan Elliott, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg, Florida. "The consumer is expressing some recent signs of distress" and chicken costs are "cheap relative to beef right now by a lot," he said. Additionally, chicken is perceived as healthier than beef, Elliott said. "That could certainly be a factor in their thinking."
Last week, McDonaldï¿½ï¿½s began selling Spicy Chicken McBites in the United States. The product launch is timely: U.S. consumption of chicken is expected to increase 1.7% to 82 pounds a person in 2013, while beef consumption may decline 2.2% next year to 54.5 pounds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic Inc., said that adding new menu items must be done strategically without impacting convenience. "[I]t can also be a detriment if you get to be too broad with your menu," he said.