Consumer Insights: Who is the Coated Chicken Customer?

Plate of chicken nuggets in breadcrumbs

Understanding the end consumer is crucial when developing any new product, that’s why we carried out our own consumer research to better understand the drivers behind the purchase of breaded and battered chicken products.

Here are the results…

A weekday dinner staple

While our panel was selected for their predilection for purchasing coated chicken, our findings revealed the surprising frequency of consumption. A huge 7 in 10 of our consumers eat coated chicken at least once a week, while 4 in 10 consume it twice a week and over a tenth of our panel eat it a whopping 4-7 times a week.

Three-quarters of our panel consume coated chicken as part of a weekday dinner. Two-thirds prefer to serve it with chips/wedges, and often with a dip or sauce, the top three being BBQ, ketchup, and mayo, in that order.

Frozen or chilled? How about both?

Both types of coated chicken product are equally popular, with two-fifths buying from both supermarket departments. For chilled purchases, ‘easy to cook’ was the top driver, likely due to the reduced cooking times, with quality and freshness also coming through much more strongly than for frozen. For frozen chicken products, it was the ease of storage and being able have it in for when needed that was more important, as well as perceived value.

Loved for many reasons

Regardless of shape, coated chicken products were favoured because they are tasty, easy to cook, make a quick and convenient meal and represent good value.

What’s in a shape?

Nuggets, mini fillets/goujons and fillets/steaks are the most popular varieties. Unsurprisingly, nuggets were a popular choice for households with children, while kievs were more popular in child-free households. Usually coming in a pack of two, they make a convenient evening meal for a couple. Versatility charted more highly for steaks than any other shape, perhaps with the popularity of chicken katsu meaning they are now being served with rice and Japanese curry as an alternative to chips.

Decisions, decisions…

Three-quarters of the panel usually buy the same SKU each time, with the remaining quarter mixing it up and trying new products. When it comes to what might tempt a consumer to try something new, the price/a special offer was most likely to influence them.

Males are more likely to try Hot & Spicy flavours (35% vs 23% for females). 18-34s are more likely to try more unusual flavours like Salt & Chilli and Katsu Curry vs the 55+ age bracket who prefer plain flavours.

Breaded or battered?

The majority of consumers prefer breaded chicken to battered/tempura. For most, breaded chicken is preferred because of the way it tastes. However for a notable proportion, breaded chicken was preferred because it is perceived as healthier.

For those who prefer battered chicken, taste is the key reason, but crispiness also plays an important part.

“I like the taste of breaded chicken. It’s easy to cook, affordable to eat and a lot of people like it.”

“[Breaded Chicken is a] healthier option, as usually contains less fat”

Sorting the good from the bad

Consumers tend to agree on what constitutes good – and bad – coated chicken. Good quality coated chicken needs a number of different attributes, tastiness being the most important factor. In second place comes the crispy/crunchy coating, whilst a golden colour is also important.

“It should be crisp on the outside and moist inside with a good texture and flavour”

When it comes to bad-quality coated chicken products, a soggy coating was cited as the top factor that would signal a poor product, so be sure to choose your coatings partner wisely!

Thanks for reading

To explore our full findings and learn how these insights can enhance your products, reach out through our contact form. Mention ‘Coated Poultry Consumer Insights’ in your message.

About the research

  • Survey designed by Bowman Ingredients, hosted via Toluna Start
  • Fieldwork: online survey conducted in September 2022 with 335 UK buyers of breaded/battered chicken from supermarket in past 6 months

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