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Local stores say Charleston chicken prices are rising with nationwide shortages

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 7:29 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - It’s a problem grocery stores are facing all across the country, and it is one that is hitting right here at home.

A chicken shortage leaving stores scrambling to find supply, all while the demand and prices climb, marks an unwelcome setback for businesses trying to bounce back from the pandemic.

The Bigley Piggly Wiggly is dealing with a problem many grocery stores are facing across the country. Manager Tom Keaton said in recent weeks, chicken wings and chicken breasts have been harder to come by nationwide.

“That falls back into suppliers trying to share it with everybody,” Keaton said.

Keaton said when they place orders, 80% percent of the time they only receive part of the order.

“Normally when we see a shortage like this, prices will increase. We just don’t know when or how much,” Keaton said.

For specialty meat butchers like Johnnie’s Meat Market in Charleston, owner Krisene Stanley said chicken wing prices from suppliers are higher then they’ve ever been, and chicken breast prices are not far behind.

“Of all the chicken wings stores, like Buffalo Wild Wings, that is their main meat, so therefore there is more demand than there is product,” Stanley said.

Stanley said they have not been affected by the shortage yet, but she has seen chicken wing prices rise almost a dollar a pound in a week.

“Crazy high, because when your normal price is three or four dollars and now it is five and rising, and it rises every week,” Stanley said.

She also attributed the rise in prices to restaurants opening back up across the country. Stanley said restaurants are needing more chicken, and processing plants cannot keep up with COVID regulations and short staff.

“I don’t think it’s we don’t have enough animals. I think it is we don’t have enough employees to process what we do have,” Stanley said.

This is something to keep in mind as it keeps getting warmer outside and people are buying chicken for barbecues and Memorial Day celebrations. According to those at Johnnie’s Meat Market, the high prices don’t look like they’re going down yet.

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