According to Wired, 23 billion chickens currently live on our planet, their combined mass exceeding that of all other birds on Earth combined. In terms of food, poultry now represents more than 36% of the meat consumed, compared to 15% half a century ago. At the same time, beef consumption has halved…
The figures are overwhelming: today, chickens are raised and fed to become five times larger than in the middle of the last century, explains the American site. Very often, the organs of animals reared in batteries do not withstand the shock, so their life expectancy is generally very low.
At the Finns of SuperGround, we looked for how to get the most out of each chicken, apparently with more ecological than productivist aims. For the founders of this start-up, raising fewer chickens would allow them to be raised better, thus promoting the famous “animal welfare” (an expression that is always debatable knowing that animals still end up being killed to be eaten).
But the objective would also be environmental, since reducing the number of animals to be raised would reduce the carbon footprint of the farms. Rest assured, it is also a question of money: the price of chicken being soaring, it is also a question of saving money.
The idea is as follows: grinding the bones of the birds would result in obtaining an ultra-fine powder which could then be integrated into the flesh used to make dumplings or nuggets. This would increase the volume of usable chicken meat, in a natural way (in any case without adding questionable substances) and without changing anything in the taste or quality of the finished products.
The principle, explained by SuperGround co-founder Tuomas Koskinen, is as follows: a mixture of vegetable proteins, chicken bones and meat residues is subjected to a thermal shock, before being compressed to create a paste that can be mixed with the chicken meat. “Bone becomes indistinguishable from other components, even under a microscope”, concludes Koskinen. The chicken meat thus processed may contain between 5 and 30% of the previously prepared mixture: beyond this percentage, the grinding apparently becomes too difficult to carry out correctly.
Appetizing, isn’t it? SuperGround executives don’t see the problem, saying that since some of us already eat marrow bones, the presence of bones in our food isn’t particularly a concern. In addition, tests carried out with ordinary customers show that they are fully satisfied with the products offered.
The demand for chicken meat should in any case continue to grow in the coming years: on the side of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, it is estimated that poultry consumption should increase by a further 17 % over the next ten years. At SuperGround, which is currently only working on reasonable quantities, there is talk of moving up a gear soon in order to be able to weigh in on the poultry market from 2023.