High street chicken shops are increasingly attracting affluent British consumers as they focus on healthier options and improved animal welfare, figures suggest.
Some 45% of affluent consumers – defined as those who have enough money to save or spend on luxuries – visited chicken outlets or restaurants over the last year, up from 40% in 2018, according to analysts Mintel.
Almost half of those who described their financial situation as “okay” are also visiting in increasing numbers, up from 41% a year ago to 47%.
However, slightly fewer Britons who are in a “tight” financial situation are visiting, down from 45% a year ago to 42%.
The growing popularity of chicken shops among Britain’s better-off diners comes as 67% of all consumers agree that they are offering healthier options than a year ago.
The value of the chicken restaurant market is expected to surge by 5% in 2019 to sales of just over £2.3 billion, Mintel said.
The burger sector is also expected to grow by 4% this year to £5.2 billion.
Mintel senior food analyst Trish Caddy said: “An improvement in the animal welfare of chickens is helping to attract a more affluent clientele to chicken restaurants and outlets, with chicken meals typically costing more than other fast food choices.
“The guilt-free indulgence of healthier, free-range chicken has clearly met affluent consumers’ value expectations, even if better chicken costs more than a burger.
“Well-off Brits’ love for chicken also suits other food trends, such as eating more high-protein foods. This includes boneless chicken snacks such as bite-sized chicken fillets with dipping sauces, which are great for on-the-go consumption.”