Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Processor workshop examines consumer preferences

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TUCKER, Ga. — “Clean labels are a macro trend. There are a couple of micro trends that fall under the umbrella of clean eating. One current and relevant trend is around the removal of the artificial trio: colors, flavors and preservatives. The other trend is around ingredient transparency. Some consumer demands are need-based like gluten allergies, and some people are just trying to eat healthier,” commented Dr. Parker Hall, vice president of research and development at Perdue Farms, during USPOULTRY’s 2017 Poultry Processor Workshop, held at the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Hall addressed the “clean label” that many consumer are seeking during his presentation on “Methods to Achieve Clean Labeling.”

Dr. Sarah Tilley, director of poultry health services for Fieldale Farms, shared the latest insight on woody breast as part of her presentation on poultry meat quality issues. “Consumers are becoming more and more aware of this quality issue,” Tilley warned. “Consumer perception is that it is less healthy. People think of breast meat as typically being very lean, but the white striping makes them think otherwise.”

Tilley shared research that had been conducted looking at various crosses of breeds to see if certain breeds might increase or decrease the occurrence of woody breast. She also shared a scoring system when looking at affected breast meat.

Over the last year a number of poultry processing facilities have voluntarily enrolled in USDA’s New Poultry Inspection Service (NPIS). Corbett Kloster, corporate director of food safety & QA, and Marie Wells, quality assurance manager, Fieldale Farms, shared their experiences with the new service remarking, “Fieldale Farms was pretty excited about the New Poultry Inspection Service and wanted to get in on the first round. The advantages obtained were good, but the list of advantages is short.” Kloster and Wells described their experience of converting two of Fieldale Farms’ plants and what some of the hurdles were during and after the transition.

Another major point of discussion throughout the Workshop focused on labor issues, including how to embrace and work with cultural and generational differences in the plant environment. Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman, professor for the University of Georgia, gave a presentation on examining the challenges plant management may face when working with employees who may not want to show up to work due to the fear of losing government assistance programs such as housing, healthcare and childcare.

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