Chicken Thighs: The Latest Victim of Omicron

Unfortunately for lovers of this particular cut of poultry, chicken thighs have become the latest victim of Omicron staffing shortages, with the cut unlikely to be replenished on supermarket shelves or restaurant menus for at least several weeks.

Michael Brooks, executive director of the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand (PIANZ), said chicken processing plants have up to half of their employees off sick.

“In a processing plant, the first part of pulling apart the carcass is mechanised, but once you get to the smaller parts like thighs, that’s far more labour intensive.”

While companies like Tegel, Ingham’s, Brinks and Turks, who are PIANZ members, seem to be holding the line, according to Brooks, local chicken and burger joints are struggling to get enough thighs.