Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dark-meat sales soar, revive chicken industry

"Demand for dark chicken meat, legs and thighs, is climbing as diners tire of white meat and TV cooking shows tout dark meat's richer flavor and softer texture," reports Marshall Eckblad of The Wall Street Journal. He also writes that growing exports to countries where meat on the bone is popular is helping dark-meat sales. Poultry companies, who have spent decades breeding chickens for white meat, are now trying to switch focus. But rising prices of once "cut-rate" meat is helping pull the business out of a slump that lost the industry millions and forced some small producers to close, Eckblad reports.

Whole Foods Market is experiencing shortages of dark meat, and poultry producer Bell & Evans Holding LLC says its dark meat sales to some grocery stores have surpassed white meat sales for the first time in decades. The company says it deals with dark meat shortages every day. Industry innovation has also helped spur the surge in dark meat popularity, Eckblad reports. Customers prefer boneless meat, and because of new de-boning machines and methods, dark meat can now boneless. (Read more)

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