Taco Bell (YUM) is bringing back a 2017 fan favorite — the Naked Chicken Chalupa, the latest fast food giant to capitalize on a wildly popular menu item that's driving up poultry prices nationwide.
Beginning Thursday, consumers can grab the bun-less sandwich, but reward members can get early access on the Taco Bell app on May 19th. The fried snack includes all-white-meat chicken marinated in Mexican spices and rolled in a crunchy coating. It's also stuffed with lettuce, cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes and avocado ranch sauce.
In a release, Taco Bell took a swipe at the mushrooming number of chicken sandwiches "being introduced as new everywhere." It added that the updated chalupa "is just the beginning of Taco Bell’s chicken offerings this year, with more unexpected menu items being introduced at a later time.”
However, in a nod to the fast food industry's most powerful trend, Taco Bell also recently jumped on the chicken sandwich bandwagon with the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. Released in February, the chain began testing it in Nashville and Charlotte on March 11, and plans to roll it out nationwide later this year.
Meanwhile, the public's obsession with chicken sandwiches has sparked a decidedly old-fashioned microeconomic problem: A shortage of poultry supply amid soaring demand.
In Yum Brands' recent earnings call, CEO David Gibbs said that demand for KFC's new sandwich "has been so strong that, coupled with general tightening in domestic chicken supply, our main challenge has been keeping up with that demand."
Wingstop (WING) CEO told Yahoo Finance that chicken producers are having trouble staffing their plants at 100%, leading to an impact on the bone-in wing prices.
"We really believe that has to do with the pressure on the labor market and the amount of stimulus that's enabling people not to have to go out and work, and claim these open jobs that are available to them," he shared.
Shares of YUM! Brands were up 1 percent in midday trading on Tuesday.
Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at [email protected] Check out her latest:
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