Poultry Products

Within the last 20 to 30 years many new processed poultry products have been introduced on the market. The poultry industry has taken the initiative to develop new products and also adopted some red meat recipes to increase consumption and to move away from seasonal demand. In the past whole turkeys were sold in the North American market mainly prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas. This kind of marketing significantly limited the increase in sales of poultry. Realizing these limitations (sale of whole birds and demand concentrated within 1-3 months) the poultry industry started to move methodically into further processing. At the beginning, red meat recipes were modified in order to manufacture poultry products (frankfurters), and later new technologies were developed exclusively for poultry (chicken nuggets). Chicken frankfurters were unheard of 25 years ago; however, after their introduction, they gained a significant market share, currently about 20% of the North American market. Overall, the poultry industry has moved into further processed poultry products, responding to consumer demand for more convenient food items such as semiprepared or fully prepared items. The increase in poultry meat consumption (Table 1) has been the result of aggressive marketing, the favorable nutrition profile of the meat, and the competitive price of the meat.

Today consumers can choose their meat products from a wide variety consisting of a few hundred different products. Becoming a knowledgable consumer can be a challenge. To assist the consumer, various systems have been suggested for classifying different meat products. One of the most common ways to classify the products is to group them into: (I) fresh: fresh poultry breakfast sausage, (2) uncooked and smoked: polish sausage, (3) cooked and smoked: frankfurter, bologna, (4) cooked: liver sausage, cooked salami, (5) dry/semidry or fermented: summer sausage, dry salami, and (6) cooked meat specialities: luncheon meats, jellied products, and loaves (9). However, a few recently developed technologies represent two additional categories: (7) restructured meat products: where small bits and pieces of meat are made into a steaklike product by using freezing and high pressure, and (8) surimi-like products: where the meat is minced, washed (to remove pigments and enzymes) and extruded to obtain a fiber muscle-like texture. In this section, examples of the major processed poultry products will be discussed (Table 5). Detailed information has been published elsewhere (1,2,18).

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