The 5 trends that are critical to success in the fast-growing chicken market

Demand for chicken products is rising across Europe as consumers seek out quick, tasty, affordable and naturally healthy food on the go. The rising demand is creating growth opportunities for limited service restaurants (LSR) but, in a highly competitive environment, kitchens need to foresee and rapidly adapt to emerging trends to thrive. Solina is helping LSRs rise to that challenge.

Chicken nuggets with BBQ sauce.In Europe, the chicken LSR sector is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2% from 2022 to 2026, according to Euromonitor. The growth outpaces the 4.4% CAGR forecast for North America over the same time and will establish the European chicken LSR sector as an industry worth almost €10 billion a year. Restaurateurs are responding with new openings, leading Euromonitor to forecast the number of chicken LSR outlets will increase by 14% between 2022 and 2026.

The trends are reflected in the growth in poultry consumption. European poultry foodservice volumes are forecast to grow at a CAGR of 2.8% from 2023 to 2026. The growth rate exceeds that of European retail volumes for red meat (0%) and poultry (0.5%), and the growth rates for both red meat and poultry in foodservice and retail settings in North America. At 2.5%, the CAGR for red meat volumes in European foodservice comes closest to matching the pace of the poultry expansion.

Multiple countries are driving the growth of the European chicken restaurant sector. The United Kingdom was the biggest chained chicken LSR market in Europe in 2022, both in terms of its value and the number of transactions per capita, but other countries are growing faster. The number of chained chicken LSR outlets is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 15.37% in Finland, 7.27% in Romania, 6.35% in Italy, 3.77% in Turkey and 1.85% in France from 2022 to 2026, compared to a 0.8% CAGR in the UK.

Led by KFC, the chained chicken LSR market is dominated by a small number of brands on both sides of the Atlantic. A 2022 Mintel survey found KFC is the most popular chicken-focused restaurant in the UK, with 40% of adults visiting in the past year. The finding put KFC between McDonald’s and Burger King on the list of the most frequently visited burger and chicken restaurants in the UK.

Younger people are particularly active consumers of chicken, with the survey finding 63% of people in Gen Z visited KFC in the past year. Nando’s, another chicken chain, was the third most popular restaurant among Gen Z, with 46% of people visiting compared to 39% for Burger King.

5 trends reshaping the chicken market

The importance of Gen Z and Millenials to chicken LSRs is reflected in the trends shaping the sector. In the UK, the largest market in Europe and therefore a key source of insights, Mintel found a split in what consumers want, with 60% of people cutting back on fast food because of money concerns while 42% of individuals are happy to pay more for fast food that uses only British ingredients.  

With some consumers cutting back while others are open to spending more, chicken restaurants need to think carefully about how to adapt their offerings to changes in behaviour. Solina is helping restaurants to manage that challenge by using its expertise in consumer insights to identify the top chicken trends. Learn more about 5 trends that will be critical to be successfull in the fast-growing chicken market.



By working with Solina, a leading global partner for the food industry, companies can access the full suite of resources needed to meet changing consumer demands, from insights into local and global trends through to the spectrum of capabilities and expertise needed to deliver great-tasting products.

Contact us and learn more about creating QSR solutions based on the latest trends in consumption.