Japanese Convenience Stores Are Facing A Fried Chicken Shortage

A newscaster looks at the camera, and next to him, there is an image of Family Mart chicken.

This made the evening news in Japan.
Screenshot: FNN/YouTube

Companies around the world are worried about chip shortages. But in Japan, if you like convenience store fried chicken, add another worry to your list. Family Mart is running low on its delicious Famichiki.

FNN via Oona McGee reports that the spread of coronavirus in Thailand, where Family Mart gets its chicken for Famichiki, is causing supply shortages.

Japanese convenience store fried chicken is wonderful. Don’t believe me? In one episode of Ugly Delicious, chef David Chang said the thing he loves most about Japanese convenience stores is the chicken snacks. The rise of convenience store chicken in Japan has been making things hard for KFC, because fried chicken has been seen as a slightly more expensive, more premium fast food. Convenience stores have changed that, making delicious fried chicken easily and widely available.

Seemingly every convenience store in Japan has them: Lawson is famous for its Karaagekun chicken nuggets, while 7-Eleven has Nanachiki and Mini Stop has Super Juicy Chicken. But Family Mart’s Famichiki is so popular that an at-home kit was released in Japan with the specific deep-fried oil that had been developed just for the convenience store staff to fry up some delicious chicken.

But now, due to supply issues, fans of convenience store chicken, might have a harder time getting their fried fix. To deal with the shortage, Family Mart is reducing sales in order to have enough fried chicken next month during Christmas. For the past few decades, KFC has been the default meal at Christmas in Japan, but Famichiki’s holiday prescience has no doubt increased in recent years.

Nippon TV reports that the Thai chicken shortages are also impacting 7-Eleven in Japan. The chain has temporarily stopped selling some of its chicken snacks and will resume selling them depending on the impact of the pandemic in Thailand. Lawson hasn’t disclosed where it sources chicken, but says its snacks will not be impacted. Phew, that’s good.

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