BM Rotisserie Chicken - © Boston Market

Perdue Farms’ Chicken Trend Predictions For 2024

New Year’s is traditionally a time when ‘power people’ make predictions about that will happen in their particular areas of specialty over the next year. Shawn Reese, Perdue Farms’ Senior Corporate Chef, shared his – all of which I heartily endorse…

Chicken Soup at home - © Jo Zimmy Photos via FlickrClassic Chicken Soup: Simmer the carcass. Add leftover veggies and noodles.
And a handfull each of green peas and corn kernels. Easy, pleasey!

Reese is a 21-year veteran of the foodservice industry with wide experience at operations both large and small in the Mid-Atlantic region. He is, effectively, second in command at the Perdue Foods Innovation Center, in Salisbury, Maryland. And his position puts him smack in the mainstream of chickensphere trends.

He was asked by food trends website FoodBeast, what he sees coming down the pipe in 2024…

Naked Wings

It’s a simple concept. And one that is already being served – albeit almost as an afterthought. All Wing joints will serve you plain, unsauced wings, ‘if you want to be boring’. But… “Thanks to convection ovens and air-fryers, it’s a lot easier these days to make crispy chicken without all the breading.” Reese observes. “As a result, we’re seeing a move away from heavily breaded chicken wings to lighter options.”

The ‘Naked’ option lets folks – especially those making their own wings at home – to totally personalize the dredge and dip flavours they apply.

‘Global’ Fried Chicken

We’ve said it many times before. The breaded, battered and ‘bare’ fried chicken options we’re all too familiar with in Europe and North America are just a footnote in the global fried chicken story. “Almost every region of the world has its own take on fried chicken, and America has only scratched the surface,”

Reese says 2024 is perfectly positioned to be the year we start exploring, in earnest, exotic versions of Fried Chicken from the Mediterranean, Asia, Africa and South America. And you thought you’d already performed ‘due diligence’ on fried chicken!

A ‘Swicy’ explosion

It started becoming a ‘thing’ this past year, and it’s poised to explode on the food scene in 2024! ‘Swicy’ is simply a balanced blend of sweet and spicy flavours, designed to deliver the ultimate complementary-while-contrasting taste experience.

“People are pushing their limits to see how much spice they can handle,” Reese says. “We’re also starting to experience complex heat, and sweet and spicy sauces and marinades, like Honey-Sriracha that combine both sweet and spicy flavors.”

A Dark Meat renaissance

I’ve always preferrered dark meat over the much-hyped white breast meat on chickens and turkeys. It’s juicer and more flavourful, and altogether more satisfying. Now, Reese says it’s time to embrace dark meat. “[A] perfect storm of flavorful culturally inspired dishes and inflation is going to push a lot more people to use dark meat like chicken drumsticks and thighs, which are more popular in other parts of the world.” A strong tie-in with the Global Fried Chicken thing is implied.

‘Zero Waste’ Chicken

The message is, “Use the whole chicken.” Reese believes that folks will see the financial and ecological wisdom in cooking whole chickens, like their moms and grandmothers did. Start with the Roast Chicken Dinner. Segue to leftover casserole, stir fry and stew recipes. Then, finally, simmer the carcass to make broth, and use up the last of the leftovers in a hearty soup.

My take

I love all the trends Chef Reese sees coming in 2024. But I have one small (admittedly selfish) problem with the Dark Meat renaissance: I may have to start fighting other diners for my beloved drummies and thighs!

Bravo for promoting the ‘whole chicken’ approach! You can always start with a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket deli. It’s still going to go farther, and make more meals/servings than any package of breasts or thighs. And you’ll be amazed how much cheaper chicken can be, per serving, when you take the whole-bird approach.

As you’ll know, if you’ve been a regular reader of this blog, I’ve long been a believer in getting the most out of roasts – be they beef, chicken, turkey, ham, or whatever. I’m glad to see one highly-placed influencer giving this culinary protocol a timely revival!

~ Maggie J.