WATT Poultry USA - February 2018 - 40
40 ❙ WATTPoultryUSA
How to improve chicken leg
meat profits, reduce waste
To maximize yield and profitability, poultry processors need to
make every gram of meat count, and this includes leg meat.
To maximize yield and profitability, poultry processors need to make every gram of meat count, and this
includes leg meat.
In western markets, the lower value often associated with leg meat compared with breast meat
means that not all of the broiler carcass meat will
achieve the same return for processors.
However, by offering leg meat in presentations
that align with today's lifestyles, emphasizing its
taste and nutritional qualities, and helping to foster
a change in consumer perceptions, processors can
seek to extract more value from the parts of the
carcass that are too often considered secondary,
delegates at Marel's Poultry ShowHow, held in
Copenhagen, Denmark, late last year, were told.
Chicken thighs tend to have a slightly darker
meat than breast meat, and are often seen as less
attractive and less healthy. Yet there is little nutritional difference between breast and thigh meat,
including protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol,
calories, sodium and iron. While the fat content
in leg meat may be slightly higher, it keeps the
meat succulent and aids taste.
And it is not always the case that leg meat is
seen as second best year-round in mature western
markets. Sales of legs rise during the summer
months, meaning that consumers already have
some interest in opting for leg meat, be it bone-in
legs, drums or thigh fillets.
Leg meat, either on its own or mixed with
other cuts, is already used in several products, including nuggets, patties and sausage, yet in addition to using leg meat as an ingredient, or selling
it bone-in, there are several options that processors may want to consider.
Extending presentation options
Carefully harvested thigh meat can be processed
into a variety of presentations. Marel
Given the taste qualities of leg meat, there are
ample opportunities for its use in strips, bites,
popcorn, as cubes for skewers and -- if carefully
removed, flattened and portioned -- leg meat
can be coated and marinated, opening it up to a
variety of innovative presentations, said Pieter
Klaas Hopma Zijlema, Marel sales manager convenience.
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ February 2018