Supply Chain Crisis Leads To Shortage Of Chicken Tenders, Second Chicken Shortage In 2021
Boneless Buffalo Chicken Tenders at Remington's.
Dixie D. Vereen/The Washington Post via Getty Images

One of the staples of young Americans’ diets, chicken tenders, is the latest victim of the supply chain crisis.

According to a report from NBC’s “Today Show,” chicken tenders, which are fillets cut from the breast of a chicken, are in short supply.

Tenders are different from chicken nuggets, which are made from scrap meat from the whole chicken. Because the tenders take more work to produce, they can be harder to find or more costly, experts told “Today.” The average price of a value pack of whole chicken breast tenderloins has risen nearly a dollar per pound since last year, from $3.02 per pound in 2020 to $3.99 this year.

The shortage has actually prompted several chicken restaurant chains, such as KFC and A&W, to stop featuring chicken tenders in their advertising campaigns in order to avoid selling out of them in their restaurants.

Hattie B’s, an iconic chicken restaurant based in Nashville, Tennessee, is dealing with the chicken shortage as well. “There is no safe harbor in the supply chain right now,” Brian Morris, vice president of culinary, learning and development at Hattie B’s, told “Today.” “We see it across the board, but certainly you feel the pain the most in tenders.”

Morris did say, however, that the restaurant has not yet passed on its costs to customers.

“If we were pricing along with it, I don’t know if folks would still want to pay what it would cost,” said Morris.

The shortage has also had an impact on families. “The shelves have been empty recently, restaurants have been out of chicken tenders, and that makes it very difficult when you have kids that have limited options,” Molly Edmunds, a mother in Scottsdale, Arizona, told NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders on “Today.”

Edmunds said that the shortage of chicken tenders has been exacerbated by her children’s limited palettes. “My kids eat hamburgers, french fries — I have to wrestle them to eat vegetables,” Edmunds said. “When I come home from the store and I don’t have any chicken tenders, my kids are not happy.”

The current shortage of chicken is not the first one this year. Supply chain problems, including slowdowns at meat-processing plants caused by COVID-19 safety regulations, coupled with a wave of demand stemming from the “chicken wars,” a rollout of fried chicken sandwiches from fast food chains like Popeyes, KFC, and McDonalds, led to a shortage of chicken products that left many restaurant chains short of chicken wings and other products, the New York Post reported in April.

One chicken producer has already raised costs on its products. The Daily Wire reported in August that Tyson Foods, the nation’s second largest meat and poultry producer, was forced to raise the price of its chicken products by 16% in order to keep up with inflation, in addition to a 12% hike in beef prices, and a 39% increase in pork products.

Chicken tenders are not the only dietary staple facing a shortage either. The Daily Wire reported last week that Canada’s Quebec Maple Syrup Producers were forced to release about 50 million pounds of maple syrup, about half its stockpile, from its strategic reserves to combat a shortage. The U.S. is also dealing with a shortage of liquor as the holidays approach, brought on by the continuing supply crisis.

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