Plant closures in Thailand spark fried chicken shortage in Japan

Plant closures in Thailand spark fried chicken shortage in Japan

FamilyMart, as well as 7-Eleven, in Japan are running low on fried chicken for their holiday platters. (Bangkok Post file photo)
FamilyMart, as well as 7-Eleven, in Japan are running low on fried chicken for their holiday platters. (Bangkok Post file photo)

TOKYO: As Americans celebrated Thanksgiving with turkey prices at record highs, another poultry dish that’s a beloved holiday tradition could be in short supply: fried chicken in Japan.

Convenience stores in Japan like 7-Eleven and FamilyMart are running low on fried chicken for their holiday platters due to plant closures in Thailand, one of the world’s major chicken producers, following a spike in coronavirus cases there in previous months. 

7-Eleven has suspended fried chicken sales since the end of September in some parts of Japan due to supply disruptions in Thailand, said a spokeswoman for Seven & i Holdings Co, which operates the chain in Japan. The company cannot yet foresee full resumption of supplies despite efforts to ameliorate the shortage, she added. FamilyMart Co did not respond to a request for comment. 

Some consumers took to social media to lament how hard it is to find their favorite convenience store fried chicken, including FamilyMart’s signature Famichiki. A few users shared store notices saying that Famichiki chicken is in short supply due to a lack of output from the country of production, and asked customers to “please wait a little longer.” 

Every Christmas, millions of Japanese treat themselves to a meal of fried chicken in what has become a nationwide tradition. A popular option is getting buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken, which says that sales are highest on Christmas Eve -- about 10 times busier than KFC Japan’s annual average.

 A spokesman for KFC Japan said the company has been preparing for Christmas for a year, and that it “is not seeing any impact on supply or price” as it sources from domestic chicken farms.

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