Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Big Chicken

The recent issue of Food Processing magazine also had an interesting article about chicken wings and chicken consumption in the US. I was amazed at the increase in chicken consumption over the last few decades. The average American ate 28.0 pounds of chicken in the year 1960. That grew to 78.0 pounds in 2000 and the USDA estimates it was 88.6 pounds in 2006. That's a lot of chicken wings and McNuggets.

One thing in the article struck me as odd. The article had a table showing "Favorite Chicken Parts" with the following data from the National Chicken Council.

Whole Bird 17%28%
Leg Quarter21%25%
Bone in/skin on breast20%24%

I started looking at the table by rows. Breast went up, whole bird went up, leg quarters went up....hey, wait a minute. All entries went up. And within a year, the percents add up to something way bigger than 100. Wow! That's a big chicken to go over 100% -- kind of like The Big Chicken shown on the right.

Since the data came from the National Chicken Council, I went to their site to see if the numbers were right and find out what was being shown. The answer was simple. When shoppers were polled, they were asked what cuts of chicken meat they were buying that day. They could choose multiple cuts. That's why the values don't add up to 100%. That didn't come across in the article and made the table hard to interpret.

I found some interesting information while looking around the National Chicken Council website. They have a lot of chicken market stats, facts about chicken, etc. Check it out and meet me at The Big Chicken.

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