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Where does the chicken in Wegmans come from?

Wegmans is a popular grocery store chain in the northeastern United States known for its high-quality products and large selection. One of the most commonly purchased items at Wegmans is chicken, which begs the question – where exactly does the chicken at Wegmans come from?

Wegmans Chicken Supply Chain Overview

Wegmans does not own any chicken farms themselves. Instead, they work with a network of carefully selected family farms and suppliers to source their chicken. According to Wegmans, all of their fresh chicken sold in stores comes from chickens raised in the United States. The specific states are not disclosed, but based on geography, it is likely that much of it comes from the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast regions where most poultry production occurs.

After the chickens reach optimal size at around 6-8 weeks old, they are processed at chicken processing plants. Wegmans works with a number of large poultry companies like Perdue, Tyson, and Pilgrim’s Pride to process their chicken. The chicken is then shipped to Wegmans distribution centers and allocated to stores based on geographic location and demand.

Wegmans claims that 100% of their fresh chicken has no antibiotics ever and is humanely raised. However, the specific standards and auditing process for this is not fully transparent. Based on investigations into major poultry suppliers like Perdue and Tyson, “humanely raised” claims are often exaggerated industry lingo that still allow for crowded warehouses and fast growth rates leading to health issues.

Wegmans Regular Fresh Chicken Line

The regular fresh chicken line at Wegmans includes whole chickens and chicken parts like breasts, thighs, drumsticks, wings, tenders, and ground chicken. This chicken is minimally processed with no seasoning or additives added. Based on the Wegmans website and product packaging, here is the supply chain process for regular fresh Wegmans chicken:

  • Chickens are hatched from supplier hatcheries, likely in the Midwest.
  • Chicks are sent to contract family farms for raising.
  • After 6-8 weeks, fully grown chickens are sent to poultry processing plants.
  • Chicken is packaged and flash frozen at the processing facility before shipment.
  • Frozen chicken is shipped from the poultry supplier to Wegmans distribution centers.
  • Distribution centers allocate chicken to stores based on geographic demand.
  • Stores receive regular shipments of frozen chicken to stock shelves.
  • In-store, chicken is kept frozen until purchased by customers.

Based on this supply chain, the fresh chicken could be coming from any number of states where Wegmans contract farmers and poultry suppliers like Perdue and Tyson operate. The main steps occur at hatcheries, farms, processing plants, distribution centers, and retail locations.

Wegmans Organic and Free-Range Chicken

In addition to regular fresh chicken, Wegmans also offers organic and free-range chicken options. These birds are raised in more spacious barn-style houses with access to the outdoors and organic feed. Here are some key facts on Wegmans organic and free-range chicken supply chain:

  • Sourced from family farms in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina.
  • Raised cage-free in barns with a minimum of 1.5 square feet of space per bird.
  • Provided outdoor access areas with soil and vegetation.
  • Fed 100% organic feed with no animal by-products.
  • No antibiotics ever administered.
  • USDA Certified Organic or Certified Humane status.
  • Processed at smaller regional plants closer to farm source.

The transparent sourcing and higher standards allow Wegmans to charge a premium for organic and free-range chicken compared to regular fresh chicken. However, the volume of specialty chicken is lower, so it is sourced regionally from family farms in the Mid-Atlantic area.

Wegmans Chicken Suppliers

As a large grocery chain, Wegmans partners with some of the biggest poultry suppliers in the country to source their regular fresh chicken. The main chicken companies that supply Wegmans include:

  • Perdue – Major East Coast poultry producer based in Salisbury, MD.
  • Tyson – Largest U.S. chicken company based in Springdale, AR.
  • Pilgrim’s Pride – Major chicken processor headquartered in Greeley, CO.
  • Mountaire Farms – Regional chicken supplier based in Millsboro, DE.
  • Amick Farms – South Carolina-based poultry company.

These large poultry conglomerates have operations across multiple states, so Wegmans can source volume chicken from their various facilities. For organic and free-range chicken, Wegmans partners with smaller local farms in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Top 5 States for Wegmans Chicken Supplies

While we don’t know the exact sourcing breakdown, based on the locations of supplier operations and Mid-Atlantic farm regions, below are likely the top 5 states where Wegmans chicken originates from:

  1. North Carolina – 2nd largest poultry producing state.
  2. Georgia – Largest poultry producing state.
  3. Arkansas – Headquarters of Tyson Foods.
  4. Virginia – Supplies Wegmans organic/free-range chicken.
  5. Pennsylvania – Supplies Wegmans organic/free-range chicken.

Wegmans Chicken Prices Analysis

Chicken prices at Wegmans can vary based on the type of chicken, cut, organic status, and promotions. Below is a table analyzing average prices for Wegmans chicken cuts:

Chicken Type Cut Average Price
Regular Fresh Boneless Skinless Breasts Per pound $4.49
Regular Fresh Bone-In Breasts Per pound $1.99
Regular Fresh Drumsticks Per pound $1.79
Regular Fresh Thighs Per pound $2.49
Regular Fresh Whole Chicken Per pound $1.49
Organic Boneless Breasts Per pound $7.99
Free-Range Whole Chicken Each $6.49

As shown, regular fresh chicken prices are quite reasonable at Wegmans for commodity chicken. Organic and free-range chicken commands a significant premium of 2x as much or more per pound compared to regular chicken. Boneless skinless breasts are the most expensive cut due to their versatility and lack of waste.

Wegmans Rotisserie Chicken Analysis

In addition to raw chicken parts, Wegmans is known for its in-store rotisserie chickens that are a hot and ready-to-eat option. Below are some key facts about Wegmans rotisserie chickens:

  • Whole fresh chickens are seasoned and slowly roasted in rotisserie ovens in-store.
  • Sold hot and ready to eat in full chickens or halves.
  • Made from fresh Mid-Atlantic regional chicken, not frozen.
  • No antibiotics ever and humanely raised per Wegmans policy.
  • Priced at $4.99 for a whole chicken or $2.99 per half.
  • Sold 364 million rotisserie chickens by Wegmans since 1994.

The marinated, roasted flavor and convenience provide appeal to shoppers despite the higher price point compared to buying a raw whole chicken. Wegmans has perfected the rotisserie chicken experience over the past 30 years.

Market Share of Wegmans Chicken

As a grocery chain with just over 100 stores, Wegmans has a relatively small market share of the overall U.S. chicken industry compared to giant chains like Walmart, Costco, and Kroger. Some estimated stats on Wegmans chicken market share include:

  • Processes about 155 million pounds of chicken annually for stores.
  • Accounts for 1-2% of overall U.S. chicken production.
  • Rotisserie chickens estimated at 15-20 million per year.
  • Has strong regional market share in Mid-Atlantic states where stores are located.

While small compared to the industry, Wegmans outsizes its market share in areas where stores operate through differentiated offerings and consumer trust in the brand. This allows Wegmans to command premium pricing on items like organic chicken.

Food Safety of Wegmans Chicken

As a trusted grocery brand, Wegmans places a strong emphasis on food safety across its fresh chicken and meat offerings. Some key facts about food safety processes for Wegmans chicken include:

  • No antibiotics ever administered per supplier contracts.
  • Careful regulation of processing temperatures and conditions.
  • Extensive sanitation procedures at processing plants.
  • Multiple quality control checkpoints from farm to store.
  • Use of food safety technologies like high pressure processing.
  • Careful cold chain management and sell-by dating system.
  • In-store food safety training for proper handling, cooking, and storage.

By controlling food safety across the supply chain, Wegmans is able to provide customers consistently fresh, high-quality chicken with minimal risks. Proper in-store handling and cooking by customers also reduces foodborne illness risks.

Wegmans Chicken Sustainability

In addition to food safety, Wegmans has placed increasing focus on sustainability practices for its fresh chicken. Some initiatives include:

  • Partnering with family farms that use sustainable practices.
  • No animal byproducts or animal waste in organic chicken feed.
  • Natural ventilation systems in chicken houses to improve air quality.
  • Humane harvesting practices approved by third-party audits.
  • Reduced plastic packaging materials.
  • LED lighting in operations to reduce energy usage.
  • Renewable energy investments like solar panels at facilities.

Wegmans also adheres to various international sustainability benchmarks for responsible sourcing. However, some activists argue the company needs to further improve transparency and reduce the speed of production.


In summary, Wegmans sources its fresh chicken from a broad network of contract family farms and major poultry suppliers like Perdue and Tyson. The majority comes from Midwestern, Southeastern, and Mid-Atlantic states where poultry production is concentrated. While not fully transparent, Wegmans ensures all regular chicken has no antibiotics and is humanely raised at a reasonable price point. More expensive organic and free-range options provide added transparency into small regional farms. Extensive safety controls and sustainability initiatives also promote responsible practices across the Wegmans chicken supply chain. So next time you are at Wegmans, you can feel confident that your chicken purchase supports American family farms, provides quality and value, and was raised humanely with care for your family’s dining table.