After holding a small-yet-relatively stable spot on United States menus through most of the past decade, popcorn chicken has seen strong growth since 2019 as consumers craved comfort foods coming into, and living in, the pandemic.
This menu item is also a family favorite, equally loved by kids and nostalgic for grown-ups who ate more than their share of chicken nuggets when they were kids themselves.
Although consumers are more health-focused now as the pandemic drags on, it seems they’ll still make an exception for a poppable dish like this.
Some operators, for their part, are adding global flavors to their versions to get that perfect blend of nostalgia, comfort and on-trend spices.
Market research firm Datassential reports that it’s currently found on 1.1% of U.S. menus but has increased by 46% over the past four years.
Click through the gallery to learn more about this week’s Flavor of the Week and see how one restaurant is using popcorn chicken on its menu.