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Chicken farms to boycott fried chicken chains in South Korea

Staff Writer |
Chicken farmers are threatening to boycott fried chicken franchises, blaming BBQ, Kyochon and other chains for dampening poultry consumption by raising the prices of one of Korea's favorite foods.

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The Korea Poultry Association (KPA), which represents the interests of chicken farmers, said Tuesday that its members will begin a nationwide boycott against fried chicken chains unless they stop charging consumers more.

"The prices of raw chicken have plummeted since the avian influenza outbreak began early last week in the southwestern part of the country," KPA Chairman Lee Hong-jae said.

"More consumers have become reluctant to eat poultry. This sagging consumption has reduced the prices of raw chicken."

Lee said the prices have dropped by nearly 20 percent over the past week as producers ship more ahead of the peak summer season, arguing that fried chicken franchises have made things go from bad to worse.

"The rush to raise the prices of fried chicken has further cut consumption. In the past, we could not protest the franchises' price hikes because they are big buyers," the chairman said.

"But this time, we will stage a boycott campaign to hurt their sales. It doesn't make sense to charge consumers 20,000 won ($18) or more for fried chicken because they get raw chicken from farms at a fixed rate for a considerable period of time."

Since BBQ hiked fried chicken prices early May, Kyochon and other chains have followed suit.

The companies said they have to charge more because of rising wages, rent and other operational issues.

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