Friday, February 16, 2007

Chicken Arbitrage

Chinese people do not like white chicken meat. They think it’s flavorless and dry. In fact, Katie was very disappointed to find out that KFC (on every single corner in China) does not even offer you a choice. You get legs, thighs or wings. The forces of supply and demand work out similarly on the prices as well. Dark meat is more expensive than the white meat here in China, while in the US, it’s the opposite. So naturally, poultry farms sell the white meat here in the US and ship the dark stuff off to China.

A coworker told me that this also impacts the formula for chicken nuggets. Katie and I went to McDonalds one day and wondered if the chicken sandwiches were white or dark meat. We were told that of course the sandwiches were dark meat, but I never thought to inquire about the nuggets. Remember when nuggets in the US were all dark meat since it was cheaper? Well the opposite is true in China. The white meat is cheaper, so supposedly the nuggets are made of white meat. I read someplace (I can’t find the link right now, but if someone else knows of the story, I will post the link) that during the bird flu scare, American chicken thighs and wings were being burned as fuel because Chinese consumers, the primary market for such products, were no longer buying them. The price fell so low that it was cheaper to burn the fatty parts than fuel oil. Maybe we should be sending our chicken thighs to North Korea instead...

5 comments:

Phyllis said...

so, at the local grocery stores, or your fave Carrefour, do they charge more for dark meat than white meat - opposite of here in the US?

Phyllis said...

oops! ignore my question... just re-read your blog and you already answered it! :)

Ching-an said...

i would then have to HEART KFC in China even more than the US since I LOVE my dark meat!!! Only issue is that they charge more!

Do they have those Original Bowls with the corn and rice layered with the fried chicken? Minus the cheese, it must be a hit in China.

Mark said...

I will have to check on the rice bowls when I get back. Knowing their love for chicken, corn & rice, it should be on the menu. Mashed potatoes aren't though. :(

katie said...

Anyone who knows me will be certain that I was crushed at the lack of mashed potatoes...:(