Chicken Tender Troubles: The Supply Chain Explained


Photo Credit: Betty Crocker

Chicken tender lovers across the country mourn as the beloved classic becomes the latest victim of supply chain issues.

Sydney Wold, Editor-in-Chief

Golden, crispy, and easy to prepare, chicken tenders have become a staple in American culture. The dish is enjoyed by picky eaters, families, and almost every flavor of the American diner. Chicken tenders are sold at most fast-food restaurants and grocers, therefore they are almost always available and inexpensive. 

Recently, the status of chicken tenders has been challenged. Not by any rival chicken dishes, but by supply chain shortages. USA Today defines the supply chain as “the manufacturers of these products, the companies that supply materials to create them, the cargo ships, trains and trucks that deliver them, and the stores selling them.” In the case of chicken tenders, the supply chain may involve a chicken farmer, Tyson Chicken, the company that manufactures the companies machinery, truckers, and Walmart. 

The supply chain shortage’s root is suspected to be the Covid-19 pandemic. In a USA Today interview with Marko Bastl, the director of the Center for Supply Chain Management at Marquette University, Bastl explains that the demand for some products reached unprecedented levels. However, other products struggled. Products that were in high demand were being delivered by truckers across the country, while products in low demand were stored in warehouses, awaiting shipment. 

This has caused a conflict in warehouse capacity and trucker availability as demand increases. Products shipped from overseas cannot be placed into warehouses and there are not enough available truckers to deliver the products. 

This has affected almost every part of the supply chain. Restaurants and grocery stores have had to raise their prices, container ships have been docked for longer periods of time than usual because there’s a limited amount of workers able to unload them, and shoppers have been advised to conduct holiday shopping earlier and have had to forgo certain foods.

In the case of chicken tenders, the Today Show broadcasted that the price for a value-pack of chicken tenders has risen to $3.99, a dollar more than last year. Business Insider reported that fried chicken chain restaurant, KFC, has stopped “aggressively promoting” its chicken tenders in an effort to preserve its supply. For now, the supply of chicken tenders has remained stable, but prices continue to increase.