Preparation of Value Added Products from Spent Hens

Ram Singh Bibyan, Harneet Kour, Jannat Saini, Priyanka Patir, Prajakta Kailas Sangale, Lovely Anant, Somesh Rameshrao Gaikwad and Pramod Kumar

A spent hen is a layer that has reached and passed her egg-laying potential. Also, spent hen is egg laying bird that is past their prime whose output is increasingly irregular and is economically inefficient. The cost of feed and inputs remains the same but their earning capacity is greatly reduced. Spent hens contribute a significant proportion of chicken meat consumed in the region. Also, it is not very economically beneficial to keep feeding so many birds that are no longer productive. The consumption of laying hen is usually an individual choice, primarily because of the status of the meat. The older chickens are, the less tender their meat is. Meat obtained from spent hen is generally tough, so people do not like to use in regular household practices, however, large scope exits to convert them into variety of convenience and value added meat products. The spent meat is easily available in abundance quantity at reasonable price for processing. As spent hen is considered as waste in layer farming, its effective utilization in product preparation may ensure additional revenue to the poultry farmers. Therefore, spent hen meat could be converted into value added meat products for better economy; however, food safety and quality of products need to be satisfied by poultry meat processors. So the poultry processing industry requires to develop processed meat products that are low-cost, convenient, nutritious, visually attractive, wholesome, safe for consumption, and having low cost. Improved deboning techniques and modern methods of meat processing could enhance the quality and value of spent hen meat leading to greater demands and better financial returns. Since spent hens are very cheap source of meat it can be used successfully in the formulation of many value added meat products using tenderizing agents. Poultry meat based products such as patties, sausages, nuggets, kababs, samosa, etc. have substantial potential in western as well as in eastern countries. In India lot of potential exists for development of such processed products, though at present less than one percent of meat is being processed.

Development of low cost formulation: One can eat spent hens. Also, one should know that it may taste different than normal broiler meat. The meat is not soft due to the presence of collagen which results in a tough texture and it has a gamey (aged meat) taste. Meat products are highly priced items, and are unaffordable by the common man. Inclusion of some non-meat items such as liquid eggs, vegetables, soya nuggets, cereal flours and agricultural waste may reduce the cost of the finished products. Eggs could be incorporated as whole eggs liquid or cooked eggs or in combination up to 20-30% level in the formulation with cost and nutritional advantage. Egg protein is superior to meat protein with higher biological value but cheaper in cost. The inclusion of fibrous vegetables in meat improves its functional properties besides reducing risk of colon cancer, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and several other disorders. Several cereal flours, gram flours, bread crumbs, milk solids, whey proteins and soya products could be incorporated up to 10% to reduce cost and increase yields. Soup is one of the oldest foods for human consumption, since it must have developed about the time when boiling was establish as very fast form of cookery. Chicken soup is prepared by boiling the ingredients such as meat, vegetables and starch in hot water, until the flavour is extracted, forming a broth. It is regarded as the most ubiquitous medicinal soup in the world. Chicken soup has long been regarded as a remedy for symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections. Sipping warm soup can clear nasal passages, serving as a natural decongestant, which also relieves cold and flu symptoms.

Processing techniques: Spent hen has a high concentration of insoluble protein and meat contains tissues that are difficult to process by heating. There are many processing techniques exits but vary depending on type of products to be prepared. Some products are prepared using whole carcasses or their different cuts, chunks/pieces, emulsion/meat batter. Emulsion based meat products like loaf items or sausages, patties, meat balls, nuggets and kababs are conveniently prepared by mixing and cutting of ground meat in a bowl chopper with iced, table salt, sodium nitrite, sugar, sodium tri-polyphosphate, sodium ascorbate, sodium bicarbonate. Sausages are vacuum encased in a casing and fully cooked using different cooking methods. Smoke may also be applied to the products and that will results completely different taste and flavour than regular products. The smoke may be applied in the form of (i) adding it directly in meat emulsion, (ii) dipping the product directly into the solution, (iii) spraying the smoke solution over the product, (iv) atomizing the liquid smoke into the dense fog and injecting it into the smokehouse, (v) vaporizing the liquid by putting it on a hot surface, and (vi) adding by way of smoke treated casings.

Raw materials (Fresh hot deboned/chilled meat, non-meat ingredients)

Analysis/formulation (Least cost formulation or for formulation of compositional end points such as fat %)

Grinding (Cut into small cubes and grind in meat mincer)

Chopping (Chopping with salt, sugar, sodium nitrite, STPP, sodium ascorbate, ice water etc in bowl chopper)

Emulsification (Pass through emulsion meal to ensure smooth emulsion)

Sausage forming (Vacuum stuff into peel able casings)

Thermal processing/cooking (Follow smoke cycle with humidity control, and cooked to 75°C core temperature)

Chilling (Cool slowly to room temperature and chill to 2°C prior to peeling or slicing)

Peeling/slicing/packaging (Remove casings, keep product chilled and monitor high level sanitation)

Meat loaf is ready to eat meat product prepared from coarsely ground meat or meat emulsion or a combination of both.

Raw materials (Fresh hot deboned/chilled meat, non-meat ingredients)

Analysis/formulation (Least cost formulation or for formulation of compositional end points such as fat %)

Grinding (Cut into small cubes and grind in meat mincer)

Chopping (Chopping with salt, sugar, sodium nitrite, STPP, sodium bicarbonate and ½ the ice water in bowl copper)

Emulsification (Pass through emulsion meal to ensure smooth emulsion)

Moulding (Transfer the emulsion in moulds taking care that minimum air is entrapped in the mix)

Thermal processing/cooking (Cooked in pre-heated hot air oven at 17°C temperature for 40-45 min.)

Chilling (Remove loaves from mould and cool slowly to room temperature and chill to 2°C prior to slicing)

Sensory evaluation/packaging (Evaluate the product for sensory quality or pack in LDPE bags and store in deep freezer at -18°C)

Meat balls have got wide acceptability in fast food chains and offers great convenience to restaurants, working couples etc. In preparation of meat ball, about 30g of meat is taken and moulded into round ball shape which is then cooked in pre-heated oven at temperature of 180°C for 25 min. After 15 min meat balls need occasional shaking while cooking. Internal temperature of the product should reach to at least 75°C for proper cooking and doneness. Meat block is ready to eat meat product which can be used as base for various recipe or preparation of meat products. The emulsion so prepared previously filled up in rectangular shape aluminium moulds. The filled up moulds were placed in an autoclave and cooked at 15 lb pressures, 121°C temperature for 20 min. The cooked samples were cooled to room temperature, packed in colourless low density polyethylene bags and then chilled before slicing them into nuggets. Meat patties are one of the most popular products among the ground meat items, and are generally used as fillings for burgers, rolls and sandwiches. For preparation of a medium size patty, about 75g of meat batter is taken and moulded into round shape which is then cooked in pre-heated oven at temperature of 180°C for 25 min. After 15 min patty need to turn upside down and then cook for 10 min. Internal temperature of the product should reach to at least 75°C for proper cooking and doneness.

Restructured meat products: Restructuring is a processing technique used for developing convenience products with texture in between intact steak and comminuted products. It facilitates to develop more palatable products from spent hen. Restructured meat generally prepared by first deforming the meat and again reforming into same or different form following chunking/flaking/tearing and mixing them by tumbling or messaging. Tumbling or messaging improves the product yield, binding, texture and sensory attributes.

Enrobed meat products: Enrobing is a method by which food material is coated with edible coating materials in the form of batter. Enrobing adds the value of a product by improving eating quality such as texture, juiciness and nutritive value. Highly acceptable enrobed pork patties have been made using Bengal gram flour, refined wheat flour and corn flour as coating materials. Enrobed pork patties can be kept more than 28 days at refrigeration (4±1°C) under aerobic packaging condition.

Shelf stable meat products: Preparation of thermally processed meat products such as canned meat products and retort packaged products with extended shelf-life at ambient temperature promotes distribution and marketing. It has been found that the shelf-stable chicken sausages, noodles, curancles, biscuits, snack sticks, wafer, finger chips from spent hen meat were shown to have very good in their sensory quality.

Traditional meat products: In the recent years, our traditional meat products getting wider market popularity in many western countries. Indigenous meat products are unique in their flavour, simplicity and ease of preparation. They have the potential of becoming value added convenience products of good palatability. Popular indigenous meat products are chicken meat curry, meat pickle, meat samosa, tandoori chicken, seekh kebab, keema, biryani, tikka and kofta. Some regional meat products are also getting popularity in domestic markets.

Other poultry meat products: Chicken fricassee consists of pieces of chicken in gravy. The gravy consists of chicken broth, wheat flour, salt and ground white pepper. The chicken can be either uncooked or cooked before canning, however, chicken pieces generally make up to 50-65% of the weight of the can contents. Chicken a-la-King king usually contains green peppers, pimientos, and sometimes mushrooms. Some formulas call for addition of milk. The butter is melted by heat, and flour is added to the melted butter and stirred to smooth consistency. The cooled chicken stock is added to the flour and butter mixture and cooked until it is of creamy consistency; then adds the chicken, peppers, pimientos, and mushrooms. Mix and heat thoroughly and fill into the can. Chicken a-la king is processed for 55 min at 121°C for No. 1 cans.

Markets for value added meat products: Chicken sticks, chicken patties, burger, kabab, nuggets, rolls, chicken samosa, canned chicken and other snacks type products are popular in local market. But now a day’s big player of market are launching their products mainly ready to eat and ready to cook type. In fast food or snacks type meat products burger, patties, puff sticks and meat pizza are also available through franchisee chain of multinational companies. In local market some companies have their products like ready-to-eat -butter chicken, keema, chicken stick, pickle, sausage, salami etc.

Meat quality assurance: Indian meat gets relatively lower price in the international market mainly due to prevelance of certain diseases and poor conditions of poultry processing plants. Social prejudice, ignorance and resistance of some groups with vested interest have resulted in tardy progress of meat sector. Upgradation of meat processing facilities, roper meat inspections and good manufacturing practices as well as introduction of quality standards are essential to significantly enhance the value of meat and meat products for higher return. Food companies seek their supplies to follow advanced preventive food safety and quality assurance systems based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system. Large retailers in Australia have been demanding HACCP implementation by their suppliers. Safety and quality are viewed very important central elements of business focus and are indispensable for business sustainability in the competitive markets. Processed poultry products should reach the consumer at a competitively low price.

Spent hen is considered as byproduct of egg industry which is rich in fat and cholesterol content, and poor in juiciness and tenderness. Effective utilization of spent hen meat is one of the urgent requirements of Indian poultry industry. The abundantly available low cost meat from spent hens has vast potential for production of several value added convenience meat products. The developed processing technologies for different products need to transfer to the small holder groups for their self-help and better economic returns. Ministry of Food Processing Industries need to promote model poultry product manufacturing units, development of trained human resources and follow up sound marketing strategies in the country keeping in mind future potential. Also, one more option that is commonly practiced is to process the spent hen into pet food. Spent hens are common supplies for pet food production plants.