Astral Foods, South Africa’s biggest poultry producer, has reported that the shortage of smaller-sized chicken portions for the fast-food sector has worsened due to load shedding, which has caused a backlog of chickens in the slaughtering process.

This has led to chickens becoming fatter, making it difficult to find birds in the weight ranges required for quick-service restaurant production.

Fast-food outlets typically require chickens weighing around 1.8kg, but many now weigh more than 2.4kg.

Astral has commissioned diesel back-up generators at all its processing sites, but there is still a backlog of large live birds on farms.

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