Americans are moving to the dark side...when it comes to chicken - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Americans are moving to the dark side... when it comes to chicken

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NASHUA (KWWL) -

The Groothuis family started in the chicken business on a whim. Eight years later, they have around 500 egg laying hens, and starting next month, they'll raise and sell hundreds of birds better suited for your Sunday dinner.

"In May, we'll get the baby chickens as day-olds. Then it's about eight to nine weeks later we get them butchered for eating," said Craig Groothuis.

They're not surprised to hear more people are moving to the dark side when it comes to the chicken on their plate.

"I guess I feel it's not as dry. I like the taste better," said Groothuis.

A study out of the Wall Street Journal suggests more diners are choosing dark over white - at least when it comes to their chicken. The growing dark meat demand is lifting prices, and persuading producers, like Tyson Foods, to develop new products. Tyson is creating more dark meat based products -- like chicken sausages.

Because of the growing demand, for the first time in ten years the nationwide average price of boneless, skinless breasts is equal to the price of boneless, skinless thighs.

"Chicken is up, it's about 20 cents a pound more than it was last year at this time," said Deb Youngblut, owner of Southtown Bar & Restaurant in Waterloo.

Chicken is, by far, the most popular item on Youngblut's menu. And even with growing prices, she has no plans on changing her menu prices. She says, at her restaurant, white is still tops -- and more expensive. But there are many people who prefer the dark cuts.

"I like dark meat, but... I always have. I like the chicken wings!" she noted.

As for the Groothuis family members, just because they prefer dark meat, doesn't mean they waste the white.

"It goes in the soup!" Groothuis laughed.

You wont see much change in the white or dark meat prices at Iowa grocery stores. Managers say, white meat is still more popular... and for that reason, more expensive. One Hy-Vee store director added his perspective to the dark versus white meat discussion by saying simply -- Iowans eat the whole bird.

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