Dining habits change as culinary evolution takes hold and consumers' tastes embrace exciting and adventurous flavors they've never tried. However, the classics are classic for a reason. As food culture evolves everywhere, chicken consumption trends evolve as well. 

There are multiple chicken formats to consider when delving into flavor trends and food industry insights. Chicken tenders, chicken nuggets, boneless chicken wings, and chicken fingers are all popular, with different preferred flavor profiles. But the original chicken format is going strong. Here, we'll explore the poultry preferences of consumers who consume bone-in chicken. 


Top Product Launches for Bone-In Chicken

When it comes to culinary delights, particularly within poultry preferences, bone-in chicken has taken center stage with an array of exciting flavors and cooking methods. Seen on grills throughout the summer months and in ovens year-round, poultry is consistently one of the most widely consumed meats in the world. 

Over the last three years, roasted/toasted and buffalo flavors have emerged as the top contenders in bone-in chicken product launches. However, the journey through the palate doesn't stop here. Salted, parmesan, BBQ, and hot flavors have also made their mark, offering a tempting array of choices for poultry enthusiasts.

This isn't the only innovation that's livened up the world of bone-in chicken. Various adventurous flavors have surfaced, ranging from the comforting lemon & pepper, herbs, honey BBQ, and chargrilled to the daring jerk, honey & jalapeno, and sesame & teriyaki. Emerging flavors like lime & tequila, red curry, butter & Indian, and fajita add a burst of excitement to chicken dishes, reflecting a dynamic food culture.


Predominant Flavors in Poultry Products

Poultry preferences often gravitate towards classic chicken recipes like roasted/toasted, smoky, and chargrilled flavors. These timeless choices derive their deliciousness from cooking methods that infuse the meat with a distinctive character. Roasted/toasted chicken stands tall with its rich, slightly smoky flavor, achieved through meticulous caramelization during cooking. Smoky flavors, often resulting from grilling or smoking techniques, lend a deep, aromatic quality to the meat. Chargrilled chicken, marked by grill lines and a tantalizing charred taste, brings complexity and texture to the palate.

Other predominant flavors get their flavor profiles from vegetable seasonings, sauces, syrups, herbs, spices, additional meat products, or other savory components. Garlic-seasoned chicken boasts aromatic and savory qualities, while buffalo sauce–infused poultry brings a bold, tangy, and spicy kick to the table. BBQ-flavored chicken, celebrated for its sweet and smoky notes, marries perfectly with various cooking methods, while honey-glazed chicken harmonizes sweetness with savory excellence, and Italian-seasoned poultry captures the flavors unique to the Mediterranean.

Additionally, it's hard to go wrong with bacon-wrapped anything, and bacon-wrapped chicken is nestled in with the top flavors in poultry products. 


Established Flavors in Poultry Products

Established flavors in poultry products offer a broad spectrum of taste profiles that have become beloved staples in the culinary world. Leading the pack are basil, maple, and apple, each bringing a lively twist to bone-in chicken. Basil infuses a fresh and aromatic herbaceousness, while maple introduces a subtle natural sweetness. Apple contributes a fruity and slightly tart dimension to poultry dishes, creating a delightful contrast. These established flavors offer a combination of low, high, and stable growth momentum. They've been around and will remain, changing over time as preferences change but likely never wholly falling out of favor. 

Other established flavor options include overall sweetness, fajita, sweet orange, ginger, chili, mozzarella, General Tso's sauce, feta, and various marinades, each adding its distinctive notes and culinary appeal to chicken preparations.


Related: Unlocking Culinary Secrets: Exploring Sous Vide Chicken Sausage


Emerging Flavors in Poultry Products

Emerging trends in poultry products are a testament to the ever-evolving and adventurous nature of culinary innovation. At the forefront of these new taste experiences are gravy, roasted garlic, and southwestern flavors. 

On the horizon, exciting options like honey-roasted, sea salt, hickory, onion, hot & spicy, and pepper jack cheese infuse poultry products with savory goodness that keeps consumers on their toes. Artichoke is even emerging as a delightful earthy flavor to add to a bone-in chicken dish. These up-and-coming tastes offer a refreshing break from the familiar and give consumers options they wouldn't normally consider but that intrigue them all the same. 


Novel Flavors in Poultry Products

Novel flavors push the boundaries of traditional chicken flavors and invite adventurous eaters to indulge in experiences not found elsewhere. Consumers seeking these experiences are embracing flavors like black garlic, which uses fermentation to infuse sweet and tangy flavors into the mild garlic. 

Consumers are also intrigued by international fruit, experimenting with flavors like coconut and mango. These sweet, tropical flavors offer a getaway from tradition. Other international flavors like South American chimichurri, Jamaican spices, and Marsala wine are also making a splash in the novel flavor category. 


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Top Flavors To Have With Drumsticks

Chicken drumsticks are a beloved staple on many U.S. menus. Among the top flavors is a perennial favorite — BBQ. Sweet-flavored drumsticks follow closely, incorporating ingredients like honey and brown sugar. And, for those who crave a fiery kick, spicy drumsticks fit the bill. 

Beyond these classics, drumsticks also showcase regional flavors that transport diners to diverse culinary destinations. Whether it's Chinese-inspired drumsticks with a sweet and savory glaze; Mediterranean options embracing the zest of lemon, oregano, and olive oil; Mexican-inspired drumsticks bursting with spices like cumin and chili; or Indian-inspired choices featuring aromatic blends of curry spices, there's a world of regional taste experiences to explore.

Moreover, the drumstick scene is not static, with certain flavors rapidly gaining popularity. Buffalo-flavored drumsticks have surged by a remarkable 300%, offering a bold and tangy twist. Citrus-infused drumsticks bring a refreshing dimension, while sage, lemon pepper, and cranberry-flavored options provide diverse choices, all of which are gaining in popularity.


Key Takeaways

In the ever-evolving landscape of chicken flavor trends, several key takeaways emerge:

  • The most popular flavors often stem from their cooking methods, infusing bone-in chicken with their distinctive character.

  • Regional flavors add an element of adventure for those eager to explore diverse culinary traditions.

  • Flavors combining sweet, spicy, and tangy elements present exciting options for those looking beyond the classics, offering a delightful journey for the taste buds.

As culinary innovation continues to shape the world of bone-in chicken, consumers can look forward to a spectrum of flavors that cater to every palate, from the classic to the daring and novel.


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