Chicken is highly versatile, appeals to all ages and can be easily adapted to any menu - just some of the reasons why consumption continues to grow

For many years chicken has been touted as a healthy and sustainable protein, but it’s also quick and easy to cook and extremely versatile, which is why it’s loved by consumers and operators in equal measure. It also helps explain the continuing surge in chicken shops opening on UK high streets offering everything from fillets in buns, wings in buckets and goujons in wraps. Research by Datassential SNAP in 2021 found that chicken is the most popular protein, visible on 95.5% of menus and enjoyed by consumers throughout the day. Tasty chicken With the price of fish continuing to soar due to post-pandemic inflationary rises and the ongoing war in Ukraine, chicken is a relatively cost effective way for friers to diversify their menus. “The aim is not to replace the main event, but to provide a high quality alternative that will keep customers coming back to try new menu options,” says Antony Higgs, markeing manager at Meadow Vales Foods, which offers a range of products from salt & chilli shredded chicken to buttermilk fillets. Marcus Kay of Kay’s Chippy in Rawtenstall, Rossendale, has recently added chicken to the menu. Creating two chicken boxes using Meadow Vale’s Salt and Pepper Chicken, one served with

curry sauce and chips and another with a Thai sauce and rice, they are now the second biggest seller after fish and chips. “We’re getting customers coming in more times a week because we’re offering something a little bit different,” explains Marcus. “There’s only so many times a week you can eat fish and chips, pie and all the rest of it.” Utilising frozen battered or breaded products is the quickest and easiest way to offer chicken as it’s ready on hand, nothing goes to waste and easy portion control allows for better cost management, which has never been more important at a time of unprecedented inflation and risk of business closures. “The tight calibration of Meadow Vale products combined with precise number- counted bags makes sense for chippies looking to cut costs, all while maintaining a high quality menu offering,” adds Meadow Vale’s Antony. Frozen food distributor Central Foods also offers a range that has been designed with the end-user in mind, with Gordon Lauder, managing director, saying: “The Golden Valley Foods range provides poultry products which are of a consistent quality and consistent size, helping fish and chip shop operators with menu planning and profitability. Boxes are supplied in

small sizes to help free up frozen storage space and to help with cash flow.”

Coating and flavourings There is, of course, the option to prepare your own chicken, which means you can tap into a whole host of coatings and marinades that are continually being updated to reflect changing trends. Middleton Foods, for example, has recently added spicier breadings and gluten free options to its Rooster’s range in a bid to help shops increase footfall - in particular, attract the younger demographic into a business - and increase profits. Wayne Gambell, Middletons regional sales manager, says its breading can be used in a pressure fryer or open fryer but comments: “Keep it simple. Offer boneless cuts that can be

fried in your frying range. Consider investing in a pressure fryer if your demand is high and offer chicken thighs, chicken



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