The chicken sandwich wars continue as Shake Shack kicks off 2021 by adding new fried chicken items to their menu. The burger chain announced the launch of their new Korean-style Fried Chick’n Sandwich and Korean-style Gochujang Chick’n Bites at the start of the new year. Both options feature a fermented red chili paste commonly used in Korean cuisine called Gochujang.
The sandwich combines both a crispy chicken sandwich with a spicy-sweet Gochujang glaze, toasted sesame seeds and white kimchi coleslaw that costs $7.19. The meal was inspired by Shake Shack’s travels in South Korea and the team’s experiences with the food scene. The team is working with Choi’s Kimchi Co, which is a family-run business in Portland, Oregon. Choi’s handcrafts their kimchi using a small-batch process that has been handed down over many generations.
Additionally, the Chick’n Bites are made with white chicken meat and served with a Gochujang mayo sauce which comes in a six-piece or 10-piece order that cost $5.19 and $7.19, respectively.
“At Shake Shack, all our chicken is real, antibiotic-free white meat breast that’s always fresh—never frozen. And what makes our chicken so juicy? Here’s the secret straight from our culinary team: it’s slow-cooked sous vide (a fine dining technique that prevents overcooking) in a creamy buttermilk marinade. After that, it’s dredged and breaded by hand and crisp-fried to order every single time,” the company stated.
The items are available now for a limited time through April 5, 2021.
The chicken sandwich wars began in late 2019 as more Americans began eating chicken and reduced their beef intake. The introduction of the new Shake Shack chicken sandwich means more sandwiches will be entering the market this year.
In 2019, Popeyes revealed their popular spicy chicken sandwich, which, in turn, induced a race between Chick-fil-A, KFC, Wendy’s, Taco Bell and more.
Earlier this week, McDonald’s introduced three new chicken sandwiches which will be added to their menu in February. Similar to their rivals, their sandwich will premiere breaded, all-white chicken fillets topped with crinkle-cut pickles on a toasted potato roll. The sandwich will be available in a spicy and deluxe variations, which include shredded lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise.
“We’ve heard our customers loud and clear, and we know they’re craving more chicken options,” said McDonald’s VP of Menu Innovation Linda VanGosen in a press release. “We’re confident all chicken fans – from traditionalists to spice enthusiasts – will discover a new menu favorite they’ll come back for time and time again.”
According to the Nation’s Restaurant News, Chick-fil-A is now the third-largest restaurant chain after McDonald’s and Starbucks. Chick-fil-A had an incremental sales gain of $2.2 billion in 2020. According to Poultry World, US consumers have been turning to chicken during the COVID-19 pandemic, making it the number one protein during 2020. Retail chicken sales increased by $1.3 billion last year, which is up 19.5 percent from the same period in 2019.
Consumers should expect to see an increase in chicken sandwich promotions from companies in 2021 and many will have a war chest of advertising to different their offerings from their competitors.