As the most-consumed animal protein, chicken is a staple on the American menu. Knowing how diners’ chicken preferences have changed from two years ago can help operators stay ahead of menu trends.
Click through to discover the chicken preparation styles, seasonings, glazes and cuts consumers are more interested in now than they were in 2015, according to Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Poultry Consumer Trend Report.
1. Sweet and spicy glazes and marinades
Diners' preference for honey on chicken is growing. Nearly half of consumers (46%) say they prefer the combination today, up from 42% in 2015.
Beyond honey, preference is also increasing for lemon, chipotle, black pepper and bourbon glazes and marinades.
Interest in chipotle and black pepper may relate to growing demand for spicy fried chicken, especially among millennials. A third of millennials (33%) say they are eating more fried chicken with spicy flavors now than they were two years ago.
2. Hot spices
Consumers increasingly prefer black pepper and cayenne pepper to spice or season their chicken at restaurants. Three-quarters of consumers (72%) today, compared with two-thirds of consumers in 2015 (67%), want their chicken flavored with black pepper. Three in 10 consumers (28%) prefer cayenne pepper to season their chicken today, up from less than a quarter of consumers in 2015 (23%).
More young consumers than their older counterparts demonstrate a strong preference for hot spices, including cayenne pepper, red pepper and chili pepper.
3. Chicken skins
Fewer consumers now (37%) than in 2015 (43%) prefer chicken to be skinless, pointing to a growing openness to chicken skins. The acceptance of chicken skins may be attributed to the growth of fried chicken in the past couple of years. While fried chicken is well-saturated in the restaurant industry, lesser-known ethnic renditions of the staple have been popping up on menus over the past few months.
4. Rotisserie chicken
Rotisserie preparations are trending up for chicken. Two-fifths of consumers (40%) say they prefer rotisserie chicken for lunch today, up from a third (33%) who said the same in 2015. More than two-fifths of consumers (45%) would now like to eat rotisserie chicken for a dinner entree, compared to 40% of diners who said the same in 2015.