Staffing issues at chicken supplier leaves Australian KFCs, supermarkets without chicken

The staffing issues have also left some supermarkets chicken-less.
The staffing issues have also left some supermarkets chicken-less. Photo credit: Image - Supplied

Australia's biggest chicken supplier has been hit with major staff shortages thanks to the surge of Omicron, leaving supermarket shelves empty and some KFC menu items unavailable. 

The supplier, Ingham's, has had to cut sales, making some products unavailable to one of its big customers, KFC. 

The Guardian reports Australians eat almost 47kg of chicken each year, which, according to industry statistics, makes chicken the country's most popular meat. 

One consumer posted an empty shelf at their local Coles, showing the chicken section bare.

Ingham's told The Guardian its main sites were open and "have not experienced significant on-site transmission of COVID". But the supplier is taking a hit due to low levels of staff. 

"However, they are experiencing significantly lower levels of staff availability, which is impacting production volumes and operational efficiency," said Ingham's.

Ingham's managing director Andrew Reeves said many of its employees were "forced to isolate at home due to contracting COVID-19 in the community as a result of being close contacts".

"Operational changes are being made to volume and mix across Ingham's Australian business and it is not currently possible to predict how long this disruption will continue," the company said. 

KFC told The Guardian in a statement the disruptions are forcing them to take some chicken items off their menu.

"Currently experiencing intermittent supply chain disruption nationally due to COVID-19 related absenteeism at our chicken suppliers, meaning some of our restaurants are unable to offer our full menu which relies on fresh chicken."

KFC says they are working with other suppliers to mitigate the impact, but expect the disruptions to last for weeks.