Poultry Flavors

Poultry is among the most popular food products in the world. Its consumption has increased substantially in the last two decades. Consumer demand for poultry reflects the acceptability of the flavor of poultry products. Many factors influence the flavor quality of poultry foods, and numerous other factors affect the formation of flavors that evolve through complex chemical reactions during the heating process. This article summarizes pertinent production and processing factors associated with flavor variations and briefly reviews the chemical basis of poultry flavors.

For the purpose of this article, the flavor of poultry is defined as a blend of tastes and aromas of cooked poultry tissues, including lean dark and lean light meat, skin, and fat, primarily from chicken and turkey. In general, normal or conventionally produced and fresh-cooked poultry exhibit such flavor sensations as meaty, chickeny, chicken brothlike, and, to some extent, fatty-oily. On the other hand, any flavor notes that deviate from those characteristics normally expected from cooked poultry lead to the perception of off-flavors, such as fishy, stale, and rancid. However, there is no standard poultry flavor; sensory perception of a poultry food item with regular poultry flavor as judged by one panel in one region may be judged as weak or having no poultry flavor by another panel in a different region or as somewhat off in flavor by yet another panel. Hence, this article regarding flavor description and intensity is based mainly on individual reports in the literature.

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