This week KFC, McDonald’s, Shake Shack and even the Sweetgreen salad chain launched the new year with their own versions of this crispy mix. Cheap, tasty and increasingly popular fried chicken sandwiches are becoming an attractive menu item in many fast food restaurants.

Americans have eaten more chicken and less beef in recent years, a trend that has grabbed the fast food industry, according to Peter Saleh, managing director and food service and distribution analyst with analyst firm BTIG recently.

It’s a constant struggle, Saleh recently told CNN Business. The chicken meat segment is a little more popular with consumers nowadays. Everyone’s trying to take advantage of it.

Saleh said the sudden increase in new rolls – and their sales – is the result of a pandemic that forced companies to stop advertising in the spring of 2020, when the virus began to spread in the United States.

Many of them have this war publicity fund that they used at the end of 2020, Saleh said. They will use it for new products in the first half of 2021, including the chicken sandwiches they want to launch.

Wendy’s, Church’s, Whataburger and Taco Bell launched their sandwich variants last year. And also this week several new fried chicken options have been introduced.

KFC

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Don’t count the Colonel of the Chicken Wars. The chain, perhaps the original fried chicken franchise, has been catching up in recent years.

This week they finally updated their version of the chicken with the aptly named KFC Chicken Sandwich, which serves extra crispy chicken fillets on a butter sandwich, plus gherkins and spicy or classic mayonnaise. It’s $3.99 à la carte or $6.99 with fries and a medium drink.

KFC tested the sandwich last year in Florida before offering it nationwide. It will replace the lesser version of Crispy Colonel.

McDonald’s

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McDonald’s (MCD) will be on the 24th. February to launch not one, but three new sandwiches.

New proposals : Crispy chicken sandwich with gherkins and served on a potato roll; spicy chicken sandwich with hot pepper sauce; and luxury chicken sandwich that comes with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.

On its Investor Day in November, the chain teased out a new line of sandwiches and Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald’s USA, said the chicken was a good bet for them.

Overall, the chicken category is almost twice as large as the beef category, he said at the time. It’s growing faster and represents an important opportunity, he said. Developing a reputation as a big chicken is one of our greatest aspirations. We want customers to choose McDonald’s because of the chicken.

If you can’t wait, McDonald’s always has nuggets and two other chicken sandwich options.

Steering box

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The premium network has launched two new options this week: Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich with Korean Chicken Chunks and Gochujang. Both types contain gochujang, a fermented red pepper paste that is common in Korean cuisine.

The new sandwich combines a crispy chicken breast with a sweet and spicy gochujang glaze, roasted sesame seeds and white kimchi-slaw for $7.19. Chicken bites are made from white chicken and served with a Gochujang mayonnaise sauce. They are available in six orders at $5.19 and 10 orders at $7.19, respectively.

Shake Shack (SHAK) already offers a fried chicken sandwich and nuggets.

Soft green

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It’s not a sandwich, and it’s not baked…. But it’s crispy and there’s chicken in it.

The trendy salad chain has launched a sandwich-free antidote to compete with carbohydrate-rich foods. The crispy chicken salad bowl combines grilled black chicken, two types of lettuce, carrots and tomatoes, and other ingredients. The secret of the crispness is a carbohydrate-free crunchy rice bouquet, which is a mixture of brown rice and sorghum.

The salad costs about $14.

-CNN Business, Chauncey Alcorn and Daniel Wiener-Bronner contributed to this report.

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