Chicken sandwich: The chicken phenomenon continues to evolve

Chicken sandwich phenomenon, photo by Cristine Struble
Chicken sandwich phenomenon, photo by Cristine Struble /

While the shortages might have ended, the chicken sandwich phenomenon continues to evolve. Why are foodies so consumed by this particular sandwich?

A simple, quick easy meal, the chicken sandwich, filled everyone’s social channels and news feeds. From shortages to sandwich hacks to even art installations, who knew that a piece of chicken between two pieces of bread would become “the” foodie obsession. Even now, that chicken meal continues to be a hot conversation.

The idea of a chicken sandwich, a southern version or even a spicy version isn’t a new concept. Every quick service and fast casual restaurant usually has had some type of this sandwich on its menu for years. But, when a new, special version of this sandwich became a hot commodity, everyone rediscovered their love of chicken between bread.

In some ways, the simplicity of that sandwich has its appeal. The sandwich doesn’t need lots of toppings, sauces or other bells and whistles. A tasty piece of chicken is and should remain the focus of that perfect bite.

For some people, that particular chicken’s flavor is part of the reason why these sandwiches become so tasty. In many cases, it is the pickle brine that offers the secret flavor.

While a brine can make the chicken breast tender, also it enhances the flavor. Even if additional pickles aren’t on the sandwich, that slight tang comes through in each bite.

Since everyone was on the chicken sandwich trend, even non-chicken companies joined in the foodie fun. Just look at Pringles with its flavor stacking idea. With the combination of roasted chicken, spicy jalapeno and original, people can flavor stack snack that chicken flavor.

Looking into the New Year, chicken is still on everyone’s mind, but in a slightly different way. With the rise of plant-based food interest, brands are offering meatless chicken options. From Hooters’ meatless wings to Morningstar’s meatless chicken option, it goes to show that the chicken continues to evolve.

In some ways, that chicken sandwich can work itself into all types of food trends. From the plant-based food options to embracing a sense of nostalgia to the ultimate comfort food, sometimes the simple, tasty bite is more than just some pop culture moment.

While the chicken wars might have quieted a little, the obsession over the chicken sandwich hasn’t totally faded away. In some ways, it might be just biding its time to raise another strike on your food radar.

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Where do you stand on the chicken sandwich? Do you think that this phenomenon is still trending?