COLUMBUS — The price of Ohioans' favorite chicken sandwiches is expected to hurt their wallets as prices continue to climb.

What You Need To Know

  • Data shows producer prices for poultry continue to increase    

  • The producer price increase is likely to trickle down to consumers

  • Each week, Ringwalt and Andy Vance discuss a topic of concern involving agriculture

Government data reported producer prices for poultry increased nearly 20% from May 2020, an increase consumers may expect to impact their wallets.

"If you think where we were a year ago, we were seeing record prices for a lot of proteins. Beef and pork were both at record highs or near record highs because of some availability issues due to COVID [and] also the big shift of how people were consuming food in home instead of away from home," agriculture expert Andy Vance said. "Now that people are out and getting back to restaurants, you've seen a lot of interest in new chicken sandwiches."

Vance cited Burger King, McDonald's, Chick-fil-A and Popeyes as companies advertising their version of the chicken sandwich. The popularity of each is increasing in overall demand.

"It's a copycat industry," Vance said. "It's helping drive demand for chicken."

That demand is affecting livestock producers in Ohio.

"The challenge is that we are also at record highs in terms of feed cost. Corn and soybean prices are extremely high right now and so that's actually limiting the chances for farmers to expand production" Vance said. "Normally, with record-high chicken prices you'd look and say, 'Maybe I should produce more chickens. Maybe I should build more barns.' But you're not going to do that right now when it comes to having these extremely high feed costs."

As for the average customer at the grocery store or drive-thru window, Vance said it's likely the bill will be more expensive.

"If you see higher prices at retail, at your favorite grocery store or one of those fast food restaurants I mentioned, maybe it causes you to say, 'I'm going to buy something else,'" Vance said. "But I don't expect that to happen in this case because one of the reasons we're seeing these price increases, this increased demand for chicken, is because you still have beef and pork at relatively high prices as well, so unless one of those other proteins backs off a bit, chicken is still sort of that bargain play if you are a more cost-conscious consumer."

According to the National Chicken Council, Ohio ranks 16th in the nation for broiler production.