Internal documents from McDonald’s have shown that the fast food giant is focusing on chicken in an effort to extend its three-year run of growth. Rival joints in the US like Chick-fil-A have had a hold on the specialist chicken market for years, and the shift for McDonald’s reflects a general effort in the last few years to reinvigorate the brand.

“Better Chicken,” as the initiative has been named, has already seen McDonald’s stop serving chicken with antibiotics, remove preservatives from their chicken nuggets and begin serving a top-tier range of chicken burgers. The current range of nuggets and burgers, while popular, is basic and leaves much room for expansion.

Consumers in the US are now eating more chicken than ever – 2017 saw the average consumer eat 41kg of chicken, almost twice the amount of beef consumed. Chicken producers are investing more heavily in processing plants. Chicken has a reputation for being healthier, which is a key reason behind its increasing popularity and also a key reason McDonald’s are willing to jump on the bandwagon.

“Adding to the menu is one of the many ways we are transforming the McDonald’s experience,” said a McDonald’s spokesperson. “We’re committed to generating even more excitement around the core menu items our customers love – including our chicken offerings.”