November 2016: How to make hen meat an attractive product?
Karolis Mintautas, Annika Nantin, Åsa Odelros, Astrid Lovén Persson, Nils Wetterlind & Jenny Yngvesson
A major problem for the Swedish egg producers is the cost of depopulating the poultry barns at the end of the laying period. Methods used today are whole house gassing with CO2, on farm killing of the birds (using a CO2 tunnel) and grinding the carcasses into a mash used for feeding Danish mink and finally catching and transporting the birds to slaughter. For the farmer these methods impose fairly equal costs when summarizing the labor and other costs. For the birds the welfare is difficult to compare, however if all methods are performed well a fair estimate is that the whole house gassing is the most humane one, followed by slaughter and thereafter the on farm killing with CO2. The reason for this judgement is that the whole house killing with CO2 relieves the birds from catching and transport however the stunning is causing suffering. The slaughter involves stressful handling but quick stunning. The on farm killing combines the stressful catching procedure with the CO2 stunning. However this ranking may be discussed and research today does not give a clear answer.
If taking a more holistic sustainable approach, though, slaughtering the birds and making them available for consumption is a far more sustainable way of closing the laying cycle, and hence the aim of the Hennovation off-farm network in Sweden to investigate the possibility of making slaughter more profitable for the farmers.
The topics we are investigating at the moment are the Swedish market for hen meat, the available ways of cooking and processing hen meat, new consumers in Sweden due to immigration, farmers’ own initiatives with e.g. on farm shops selling both eggs and hen meat as well as the possibilities of involving well known chefs in the project. A joint workshop will be held on the 24th of November involving a marketing expert, a chef and a farmer with her own on farm shop selling hen meat to explore the opprtunities mentioned above and transfer the hen meat in delicious and atractive products.
A marketing picture the product pulled hen, far more attractive to the consumer.