The great takeaway chicken survey

2014-06-09 10:00

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SA is crazy for deep-fried and flame-grilled takeaway chicken. But how crazy is the chicken about your health, your pocket, your taste buds and the planet? Gugulethu Mhlungu and the #Trending team rate the top-selling outlets mouthful by mouthful

Value for money

Soul Sister 2 (Two pieces of chicken, a portion of fries, coleslaw and a slice of toast) R24.90

Four Hotwings and a portion of fries R17.90

1st(winner on price)

Environmental impact

Local supplier: Rainbow Chicken

Chickens are battery farmed

Average age of slaughtered bird is 37 days

Injected with marinade (10% as is legally permissible)

Maize and soya diet. Chickens are apparently not force-fed and not fed hormones

Asked if chicken pieces were injected with saltwater and how rooster chicks were disposed of, Chicken Licken claimed not to know the answers


Chicken Licken Hot Wings. Pictures: Leon Sadiki/City Press

Nutritional value

Chicken Licken told us it was busy working on its nutritional value info and did not have those details yet.

The company claimed that it deep-fried its chicken in oil with a zero ­percentage of trans fat.

Even so, deep-frying is one of the unhealthiest ways to prepare food. Flame-grilling is a lower-fat option.


Chicken Licken (Bought from Campus Square, Auckland Park, branch)

Taste test

Not full wings and pieces are small, but Hotwings flavour is great. Decent balance between coating and meat. (3.5 out of 5)

Soul Sister 2: Juicy and flavourful, good portion size. (3 out of 5)

1st / 6.5 out of 10

KFC Streetwise

Value for money

Streetwise Two (Two pieces of chicken with a small portion of chips) R25.90

Four Zinger Wings R15

3rd (pricy for what you get)

Environmental impact

Local suppliers: Rainbow Chicken, Supreme Poultry and some wings are sourced from Afgri

Free-range chickens are apparently used in South Africa

Average age of slaughtered bird is 34 days

Chicken is brined (injected with saltwater, which increases its size)

Chickens are not force-fed

Chickens fed a high-quality feed apparently developed by veterinarians (nonspecific)

No hormones used


Nutritional value

Item-by-item nutritional value is available on website

Streetwise 2 with small chips:

.?Energy 2?263.0 (kJ) .?Glycaemic carbohydrates 44.0 (g)

.?Protein 28.0 (g).?Sugar 0.4 (g)

.?Total fat 27.2 (g).?Cholesterol 110.0 (mg)

.?Sodium 1?599.0 (mg).?Potassium 666.9 (mg)

.?Iron 1.8 (mg) .?Calcium 41.0 (mg)

.?Vitamin A 24.0 (RE).?Vitamin C 4.0 (mg)

.?Total dietary fibre 4.2 (g)


KFC(Bought from Campus Square, Auckland Park, branch)

Taste test

Zinger Wings: Very oily, not full wings, almost as much coating as meat. (2.3 out of 5)

Streetwise 2: Skin of chicken pieces is puffy as if the meat wasn’t cooked at the same temperature throughout the cooking process. Decent portion size, Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices still kicks major ass. (3 out of 5)

4th / 5.3 out of 10

Muchachos wings and chips

Value for money

Four full BBQ wings and chips R37.90

¼ chicken, chips and bun R34.90

1st(huge portion, value for money)

Environmental impact

Local suppliers: CC Chickens

Free-range chickens are apparently used

Average age of slaughtered bird is unknown, with Mochachos claiming not to have this information

Chickens are not force-fed

No saltwater added to chicken

Chickens’ diet “unknown”, which is a cause for concern

No hormones used


Nutritional value

Certain items on the Mochachos menu have been endorsed by the Heart Foundation and the foundation’s symbol appears next to those items, but there is no nutritional breakdown of the menu. When asked for a reason, Mochachos said it was “in the process” of collating this info and this “will take time”.


Mochachos (Bought from Melville branch)

Taste test

Full BBQ wings: It looked like they were marinated after cooking, which is weird and messy, but the sauce was delicious. Thoroughly cooked and actual full wings as opposed to half wings. (3 out of 5)

¼chicken: Looked abnormally large next to the other pieces of meat. Not well presented (looked burnt), but tasted good. (3.25 out of 5)

2nd / 6.25 out of 10

Nandos quarter chicken and chips.

Value for money

¼ chicken, chips and a roll R39.90

Three full wings and chips R37.90

4th (very high price for an average-size portion)

Environmental impact

No info was provided by Nando’s on where it sources its chickens or how the birds were reared and fed?–?despite several requests.

­Nando’s loses major points here. If it has nothing to hide, why not tell us? We can only assume the worst.


Nutritional value

Nutritional value not freely available online, but provided when requested

Nando’s leg quarter with skin on, plus regular chips:

Per combined (255g) serving:

.?Energy 2?333 (kJ) .?Carbohydrates 39.4 (g)

Of which total sugar 0.3 (g) .?Total fat 31.6 (g)

.?Protein 30.7 (g) .?Cholesterol 97 (mg)

.?Sodium 469 (mg) .?Potassium 1?079 (mg)

.?Iron (mg) 3 .?Calcium 45 (mg)

.?Vitamin C 16 (mg) .?Dietary fibre 5.7 (g)

.?Starch 35 (g) .?Energy 557 (cal)


Nando’s (Bought from Melville branch)

Taste test

Full wings: Good flavour, but it would have been nice if it had been cooked beyond pink closer to the bone. (2.5 out of 5)

¼ chicken: Well flavoured and good presentation. (3.5 out of 5)

3rd / 6 out of 10

Chicken by numbers

According to stats from just these four retailers, SA consumes an average of 13?million kilograms of takeaway chicken a month

Fast food chicken accounted for more than a 50% share of total fast food sales in 2012, the most popular fast food in SA

Chicken meat consumption in SA is estimated at a record 36.1kgper person a year (Global Poultry Survey 2012).

SA’s poultry consumption is nearly three times the global average and one of the highest in Africa

In 2012 it was reported that South Africans consumed an estimated 1?billion chickens a year.

Chicken is, on average, cheaper than beef, hence its popularity

In SA, takeaway chicken is consumed across all ­demographics and income brackets.

There are more than 1?300 outlets just ­between the four retailers we looked at. KFC ­dominates the market with a far-reaching 750 outlets

An estimated 78%of South Africans eat fast food more than once a month

It is forecast that by 2017 about 34.1?million South Africans over the age of 16 will eat fast food once ­every four weeks, an ­increase from the ­estimated 26.5?million currently

Chicken Licken sells 5?million hot wings a month

Battle of the fries

They say you can’t have it all, and while their chicken is pretty good, our four restaurants aren’t too famous for their chips. The title of the best chips has been long held by a certain burger outlet, but we put their ‘tatoes to the test.


Decent slap chips, although they tend towards over-spiced.


Decently spiced, crispy on the outside and soft inside.

Chicken Licken

Boring unless the chips are helped by the soul fire salt. But pretty lousy.


Boring, tasteless as an ordinary chip. But exciting as peri peri chips.


KFC wins for ordinary chips and Nandos for peri peri chips.

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