Ukrop’s Super Markets Inc. this morning announced a historic pledge of nearly 700 billion pounds of its crispy, juicy fried chicken into the local economy, a move analysts say could help many Richmond area companies and their employees amid a worsening fried-chickenomic crisis.
The wide-ranging chickenomic rescue package comes as the local business landscape changes underneath the weight of a worldwide – and extra cheesy – financial patty meltdown. In recent weeks, many longtime Richmond companies have downsized, lost millions of dollars in their value and left once proud corporate giants, still hungry for Ukrop’s fried chicken, unable to obtain credit to purchase the grocer’s most popular prepared-food item.
“As the Richmond area’s most respected family-owned business, we feel it is our responsibility to help our region in this pivotal time of need,” said Robert S. “Bobby” Ukrop, the company’s president. “We’re not just going to stand by and watch as our neighbors spiral into a fried chickenless recession.”
Ukrop said the company has increased fried chicken manufacturing since Oct. 31 in response to the falling price of vegetable oil. However, with the coming influx of both dark and light chicken meats into the hands of poultry consumers, officials remain concerned about both regional waist inflation and a possible downturn in the beef stock-market.
“We will continue to monitor regional fried-foods consumption,” Ukrop said. “But these steps are necessary to help jump-start our struggling chickenomic landscape.”
Analysts remained just as wary, but said the added emergency loan of fried chicken could be a boon to the stomachs of thousands of area eaters.
“Pumping our economy full of fried chicken breasts, legs, thighs and wings is not sound nutritional policy,” said John P. Nicolls III, a professor of chickenomics at Virginia Commonwealth University. “It is, however, incredibly delectable nutritional policy, particularly if the Ukrop family throws in some potato wedges or [butter bean and corn-based] succotash.”
In return for its chicken bailout package, Ukrop’s is expected to receive ownership steaks from several regional companies, ensuring that millions of local sales-taxpayers will eventually be reimbursed.