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Chicken costs rise, no chicken burgers at KFC

Due to the rising cost of chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in South Korea have decided to discontinue selling 2 of its best-selling menu items.

KFC's Zinger and Tower burgers, both of which contain a thick piece of chicken breast, are no longer available in most of its 140 outlets nationwide in South Korea.

It is reported that these 2 menu items account for 15% of KFC's overall sales.

Reports state that the discontinuation was mainly due to a supply shortage of large chickens after avian influenza hot the country earlier this year. KFC uses the fillet for the popular burgers from these larger birds.

The Korea Times reports that the supply of chicken breasts shrunk by 40% after the AI virus led to the killing of hundreds of thousands of chickens at farms across the country.

"We're running short on chicken fillets because a growing number of farmers, who can't afford soaring feed costs, are killing the birds before they grow big enough," said Kim Duk-bae of the Korea Poultry Association. He added that chicken feed costs have spiked almost 40% compared to last year.

The Association has said that about 4,000 chickens are set to be slaughtered this month, which is about 500 less than in November 2007.

Duk-bae said supply would remain on edge through the first part of next year because grain costs aren't expected to moderate in the near future.

Natalie Berkhout

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