Fact-check: The rise of chicken dishes in the fast food industry in 2024

May 15, 2024
Laetitia Bignoux
Chicken fast food chains continue to grow in popularity. Find out how chains like KFC and Belchicken are tapping into this trend.


The European fast food market is constantly undergoing changes, driven by shifting consumer preferences and emerging trends. One notable trend noticed recently in the QSR (Quick-Service Restaurants) industry is the growing popularity of restaurants with a focus on chicken and chicken dishes. In this article, we examine this trend through an analysis of our data.

1. Prediction for 2024: more chicken on the menu, as well as on the map.

More chicken on the menu, as well as on the map. That was the prediction in our #RetailReview podcast for QSR brands in 2024. As reported by De Telegraaf, the food trends of 2024 are expected to feature more and more chicken and less alcohol on the menu in the fast food market. Consumers are becoming more health-conscious and more likely to choose healthier options, including chicken and plant-based alternatives.

One possibility is that consumers often see chicken as a healthier alternative within fast food because of its lower saturated fat content compared to red meat such as beef and pork. This trend is further reinforced by the introduction of new chicken and vegetarian options in the menus of popular fast food chains such as McDonalds and Burger King. However, it is important to consider other factors such as preparation methods and added sauces when assessing the overall health of fast food meals.

2. The rise of plant-based fast food options

Burger King Germany offers plant-based "meat menus". They go far in this by offering the plant-based options cheaper than their traditional meat menus. This makes Burger King a pioneer within fast food. Since 2022, they have offered an alternative with plant-based meat for almost every menu item.

Burger King Germany's initiative comes at a time when consumers worldwide are giving more importance to sustainability, their health and ethical consumption. People are looking for alternatives to animal products, whether due to health concerns, environmental impact or ethical reasons. By responding to this and offering plant-based options that are not only affordable but also mimic the taste and texture of traditional meat, Burger King Germany is responding very well to a growing need in this market.

3. The increase in the number of chicken restaurants

In line with this forecast, we also predicted an increase in the number of chicken outlets in response to the growing popularity of chicken dishes in the fast-food market. Brands such as Belchicken and KFC have started opening more branches to meet the growing demand. So this prediction has already been confirmed by the growing presence of these brands in the market. KFC, for instance, has plans to expand significantly in Belgium in the coming years. Belchicken, an emerging young company, is also determined to expand its presence, aiming for 300 restaurants across Europe - including France, Germany and the Netherlands - by 2025.

These ambitious expansion plans are feasible considering the ongoing health trend and growing consumer preference for chicken dishes. If this trend continues, the idea of opening more chicken restaurants is not only reasonable but also very realistic. This shows the adaptive nature of the fast food market and the willingness of brands to respond to changing consumer preferences.

4. Accurats Data analysis: the Visit Share of Chicken Brands

The chart below shows that the visit share of "chicken brands" increased slightly from 14.1% to 14.3% in 2023 compared to 2022. This has been snatched from Pizza Hut and Quick, confirming our claim.

In the chart below, we focus only on the first 3 months of each year (January-March), which differs from the previous chart, in which we focused on the full years. The year 2024 so far shows that our prediction was correct. From January to March of 2023, the visit share was still at 12%, but this has increased to 14% over the first three months of 2024. This has come at the expense of McDonalds and Quick.

Although the visit share has increased for the chicken brands, we should mention that this does not mean that people are also spending more time in these chicken fast food chains as a result, as the opposite is true. The reality is that people (per visitor) spend about 33 minutes of dwell time in the chicken fast food chains while it is more for the non-chicken fast food chains, i.e. 37 minutes.

The same applies to the number of visits to these fast food chains. Although the chicken fast food chains have a higher visit share, they get a lower number of visits per month than the non-chicken fast food chains. For instance, the visit frequency for the chicken fast food chains is 1.2/month while it is 1.7/month for the non-chicken fast food chains. The table below illustrates this data once again.


Based on our data analysis, we can conclude that the predictions about the growing popularity of chicken dishes in the fast food market have proved largely accurate. Although the visit frequency and dwell time among chicken fast food chains is lower than among non-chicken chains, the increase in the visit share for chicken brands and the decline of the other fast food chains indicates a shift in consumer preferences towards alternative fast food options.

This evolution highlights the importance for fast food chains to adapt to changing consumer preferences and introduce new menu options that cater to the growing demand for chicken dishes and plant-based alternatives. If the trend continues, we can expect more fast food chains to diversify their menus to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers.

Curious about our other predictions for 2024?

Read our article here or watch our #RetailReview episode on this.

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