My View From The Country

Chicken Is Just A Carrier For The Taste Of The Special Sauce

Chicken certainly can’t compete with beef on the basis of taste.

I know a lot of cattlemen are kind of uneasy about Chick-fil-A’s advertising campaign. Their results, however, have been outstanding, as Chick-fil-A surpassed KFC several years ago as the top chicken chain and continues to make gains. So much so, in fact, that Yum Brand, Inc., parent of KFC, has launched a new chicken chain, called Super Chix, in an effort to stanch the Chick-fil-A onslaught.

Why am I talking about chicken in a beef article? The first reason is that this should be a glorious time for the chicken industry. Beef is at historically high price levels, and pork prices are rising as well due to the impact of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), which has trimmed pork supplies.

Yes, chicken should be gaining market share at a historic clip, if for no other reason than their competitors’ supply challenges. Yet, chicken demand is struggling.

I have a daughter who likes to eat chicken on occasion. I have to admit that makes me a little nervous sometimes as I have to believe it is due to more than just a failure in upbringing. However, last weekend we were riding horses at a horse show and it had grown rather late. We hadn’t eaten dinner, so we decided utilize the nearest fast-food restaurant we could find, which turned out to be a Chick-fil-A.

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My wife went through the drive-through and brought the meal back to the fairgrounds, only to learn that the bag contained all the chicken we ordered but only a couple of containers of Chick-fil-A’s special sauce. So, three starving teenagers and myself ended up putting whatever chicken was left over in the dumpster once the sauce ran out.

To tell you the truth, I’d forgotten just how tasteless and bland chicken on its own really is. The reason we in the beef industry talk about price so much is because the threat from chicken is on the price front. Chicken, however, certainly can’t compete with beef on the basis of taste.

I really think we have thoroughly misunderstood the competitive position of chicken. In fact, I think we should be evaluating the chicken sauces and their cost when we do affordability comparisons of the proteins. After all, chicken fingers or chicken sandwiches are just a way to get the sauce to our mouths.

The views of Troy Marshall do not necessarily reflect those of or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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Discuss this Blog Entry 8

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 13, 2014

Most of my adult life I ate fast "food" chicken or tyson chicken from the grocery store. Recently I tried a source of pasture raised chicken and was amazed at how much good flavor it has.

Anonymous Beef Farmer (not verified)
on Apr 17, 2014

Troy, I love your headline! I've said that for years...and for years have not eaten's gross gross gross.


Briscoe Boy (not verified)
on Apr 17, 2014

So true! Love it! Reminds me of a friend who used to give talks that went like this. "Beef taste's like beef because of beef fat, pork taste's like pork because of pork fat (think bacon), and chicken taste's like cardboard because of no fat" or as you state "sauce".

Steve C., MO (not verified)
on Apr 17, 2014

Feedlot beef isn't much better. After eating grassfed, I can't eat feedlot-oriented restaurant or grocery store chain steak without thinking of dishwater.

on Apr 17, 2014

I guess this means my rattlesnake nuggets idea isn't going to work.

on Apr 17, 2014

On a serious note, I think all of agriculture should band together instead of fighting each other. Articles like this do not help. The enemy is not the poultry market or grass fed or feed lot people. There is a growing movement to move away from animal protein. The FDA and EPA are moving fast to implement the Global Biodiversity Assessment. I am not saying don't promote the beef industry, I am saying don't criticize another agriculture market. Can you hear the chicken cluckers saying beef taste so bad all restaurants have to offer A1 or Worcestershire, sauce for people to eat it? Divide and conquer.

Anna (not verified)
on Apr 17, 2014

Couldn't agree more. Article like this help nobody and only serve as an boost to the beef industry. The two meats have different places and fighting one over the other doesn't do much good.

John R. Dykers, Jr (not verified)
on Apr 17, 2014

Taste tests are notoriously unreliable. Taste is a matter of individual preference. Let's not wast energy knocking chicken. Let's do a better job producing beef and selling a great product that has just as many great recipes as chicken. (and the fat in chicken is in the skin)

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.


Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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