Last year chicken was eaten on 3.5 billion occasions, down 0.4% on the previous year

Retail sales fell 2% to £2.94bn

Adults aged 17-24 over-consume chicken by 28%

Favourite is the largest driver, healthy second and fancied a change third

Health comes second for chicken

The consumption of chicken has remained steady over the past four years. Adults aged 17-24 are the largest consumer group but occasions when they eat chicken are down 2%. Children aged 6-10 are eating more, with occasions up 4%.

Teatime and the evening meal are mainstays, accounting for 80% of all occasions, while 19% is eaten at lunch and 1% is an in-home snack. Chicken is most likely to be eaten between 5pm and 7pm (56%), with 6pm to 7pm showing the largest growth in occasions.

As chicken is a mainstay of the roast, it is eaten with vegetables 59% of the time and with potatoes 56%.

Almost a third eaten in the home is roasted with 27% baked. The largest growth in preparation methods has come from stewed, up 45%, and stir-fried, up 16%, both methods in line with the current health trends.

Favourite or everyday enjoyment is the main reason given for consumption at 26%, while health accounts for 15% of occasions. Health is showing the largest growth at 10%, and favourite is up just 2.5%.

Scott Barlow