War and floods take the bite out of KFC Australia – after a chicken shortage, it is now facing a lettuce crisis

War and floods take the bite out of KFC Australia – after a chicken shortage, it is now facing a lettuce crisis
KFC India
  • The war in Ukraine has affected the global supply chain and prices of several essential food items have jumped through the roof.
  • On top of this crisis, Australia has seen sporadic floods that have destroyed several domestic farms, which was shortly after fighting a deadly wave of Omicron.
  • As a result, Australia’s beloved fried chicken chain KFC has been running low on its supplies.
Due to the global supply chain crisis and sporadic floods, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Australia has lacked the zing consumers hope for this year. It has been struggling to source its key ingredients.

In January, after an alarming wave of the Omicron variant swept through Australia, KFC faced a severe shortage of its star ingredient chicken. This month, it has resorted to replacing lettuce with cabbage in its sandwiches and wraps.

The price of the leafy vegetable has touched a record high after floods destroyed lettuce crops. Lettuces cost over A$10 (₹557), three times more than the usual price.

The problem is so severe that KFC feels it has ‘hit a bit of an iceberg.’

“We've hit a bit of an Iceberg and are currently experiencing some lettuce supply chain disruptions due to the impacts of the recent Queensland and NSW floods. This means you may see a temporary blend of lettuce and cabbage throughout KFC restaurants in NSW, VIC, QLD, ACT and TAS during these shortages,” said KFC Australia on its website.


Iceberg lettuce offers a crunchy feel and consumers are not happy with this change.

Even Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said, “Cabbage isn't the same as lettuce. That's just wrong,” in an interview with Sydney's KIIS FM radio.

He even joked that he would huddle with top officials to discuss the soaring cost of lettuce and local KFCs' decision to replace lettuce with mix on their Zinger Burgers.

The prices are so high that Subway Australia also decided to follow suit. It is the second fast-food chain to swap lettuce with cabbage.

Rising inflation and higher food prices

The cost of living is rising steeply and food producers across the world are facing extreme food shortages of different kinds. In Australia, the inflation rate touched 5.1% in March, and as per this week's updated figure on Australian Bureau of Statistics website, inflation is expected to exceed the forecast and see a 4.25% increase.

A new report from Farmers for Climate Action said that Australians are facing higher prices for food, and more frequent food shortages.

“The problem was not lack of food – there was plenty available on farms or in warehouses – but disruption to the supply chain required for its distribution,” said the report.

It is the highest rate of inflation in the country in 20 years, with expectations that it could rise even higher. Australia's central bank has also raised the cost of borrowing to 0.85% from 0.35% to control surging inflation.