Tough Times Call for Tender Chicken

Wayne Farms

—Food Strategies to Get More Out of 2022

Foodie snapshot April 2022: Wherever you are today in the food chain—consumer, producer, or restaurant operator—the availability, selection, and price of food is on your radar right now.

The acute disruption of COVID-19 appears to be waning. Still, pandemic unease remains, and it seems that inflation and spiking energy prices are here to stay, at least for the time being. Work location arrangements are normalizing, but long hours are "normalizing" right along with it. And as consumers and operators alike enjoy a revitalized food marketplace, you'll also see the signs of economically mindful consumption. There's more interest in non-traditional cuts, meal extension ideas, adoption of meat protein substitutes—and of course bargain shopping and doing more with less. Let's get started with our plan to deflate the inflationary bubble and get more out of 2022!

First and Foremost, in Today's Crazy World—Save Time

Treat it like an ingredient just like quality chicken—it's a premium item so use it wisely. Saving time when planning, prepping, and serving is a universal currency in-home prep and restaurant/food service settings. A meal calendar helps cut food waste and that 6 PM time-to-table confusion.

Next, Save Money

Every dollar counts with inflation ratcheting up and purchase power taking a dive. We've talked about replacing wings with thighs. Still, there are other ways to tap into the inflation-busting versatility of poultry. Buy whole chickens and repackage at home. If trimming and cutting up a whole chicken is not your skillset—let celebrity foodies like Gordon Ramsay or Martha Stewart show you how online. It takes about ten minutes, and you'll be saving money from the first cut—the gap between whole and cut-up and trimmed chicken is significant. Another saver—pre-purchase your chicken or other protein on sale at the right price and then freeze immediately or cook and freeze—properly packaged and frozen raw or cooked chicken will retain quality for a year. Cut costs using proteins like chicken as an ingredient instead of the center of the plate—think casseroles, pot pies, empanadas, and enchiladas, or stews and hearty soups.

Finally, Save the Hassle

Stage your pre-prepped protein to match your meal calendar. Then put that affordable, frozen, cooked chicken we talked about to good use and plan meals and hot or cold menu items around it. Shredded, chunked, or sliced for fajitas, pizzas, wraps, and salads, or whole cuts like thighs and breasts as the entrée—with a side or two dinners are ready in minutes not to mention tastier and more appealing than fast food or processed, prepared items.

Trend Considerations

We all know good food and good times go together, and new research from Mintel emphasizes the importance of dining and cuisine on the consumer mindset. "Consumers are in need of joyful respites amid the anxiety and stress from the pandemic and other crises", according to

Mintel Trends
"Going forward, consumers will have newfound appreciation for occasions when happiness, fun or playfulness can be found in everyday items and activities.

Food, drink, and foodservice have increasingly served as outlets for the comfort and creativity consumers were craving during the pandemic's slowdown. Some consumers have gained new cooking, baking, and drink-making skills that they can come back to when they need to play, create or impress.”

We know inflation is on the rise and work-life balance appears to be no easier than in 2021, but now we have a plan! No matter how you slice it, saving money and using your time wisely—including more wholesome, healthful, premium chicken on your menu—is a sure bet to get more out of 2022!