New research from Mintel compiled for Burger Business shows that the longstanding fast food burger wars may be evolving into the chicken sandwich wars.

Chicken sandwiches have outnumbered burgers on QSR menus since 2010. The shift is indicated as:

  • 2008: 277 burgers vs. 255 chicken sandwiches;
  • 2009: 287 burgers vs. 285 chicken sandwiches;
  • 2010: 303 burgers vs. 306 chicken sandwiches;
  • 2011: 314 burgers vs. 330 chicken sandwiches;
  • 2012: 323 burgers vs. 330 chicken sandwiches.

The research counts turkey and subs, wraps and burritos in the "chicken sandwich" category.

One of the main factors for the shift is the rising cost of beef. For example, in 2010 when the shift gained traction, the Wall Street Journal reported a 32-percent spike in boneless beef from the year prior.

Because of rising beef prices, numerous chains have admitted a greater focus on chicken in the past couple of years.

Outside of the sandwich-specific category, chicken items in general — including McDonald's McBites, popcorn chicken, nuggets, etc. — appeared on QSR menus 994 times during the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to 323 burger mentions.

Read more about trends.

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