Franchisees are encouraged to take advantage of the trend. According to the franchisee newsletter, dark meat now accounts for about 18 percent of all bone-in poultry ordered by KFC or about 108 million pounds annually.
Dark meat costs substantially less than white, increasing profits.
Dark meat's popularity also is growing in the retail sector, said Ray Atkinson, a spokes man for Pilgrim's Pride, the nation's largest chicken supplier. Atkinson credits that in part to a strong demand for dark meat in the growing Hispanic market.