Thigh meat consumption on the rise – a global trend
The market for thigh filleting is opening up, offering plenty of opportunities worldwide. To benefit fully from this development, poultry processors can now process thighs by using the revolutionary inline Stork Thigh Fillet System.
In some countries, mainly in the Far East, chicken thigh meat has always been more popular than breast fillet. Nowadays however, there’s a global consumer trend to upgrade thigh meat, especially for its taste. It’s not just the big market in China; Scandinavia also has a large appetite for thigh fillets, while Latin American markets love thigh meat too. In the USA and Russia as well, thigh products are appreciated more and more. As a consequence, industrial thigh deboning solutions will be needed worldwide to produce the required amounts of thigh fillets.
Marel Poultry has developed a globally unique inline thigh filleting concept, which can handle high speed lines. The Stork Thigh Fillet System can produce deboned thigh meat of high yield and quality with minimal trim operators or inspectors required. The system can keep up with the highest hourly throughputs while processing thighs with high precision and consistency.
Butcher quality from an inline system
The Stork Thigh Fillet System makes use of five carrousel modules. From knee joint incision, via skinning and bone extraction to knee cap removal and fillet harvesting, every single task is meticulously performed. The techniques used are ingenious, though simple and easy to control.
Manual shackling or rehanging is no longer necessary, as the process remains completely inline after the cut-up process. The system mechanically mimics the manual work of a skilled operator, ensuring a consistently processed “butcher quality” thigh meat. A consistent performance can be achieved for all products entering the system, irrespective of size or quality.
The inline concept is more stable and much faster than manual deboning could ever be. The reliable process requires an absolute minimum of operators to check and trim. Therefore, it saves considerable labor.
It is the task of the thigh deboning system to preserve the quality of the supplied anatomic legs throughout the deboning process. That’s why bone handling is gentle and far from being “aggressive”. Putting too much pressure on the bone to get it out could mean the loss of a carefully harvested oyster and thus loss of quality, which is exactly what Marel Poultry wants to prevent. Instead, this system uses a unique push-pull technique which makes for long-term reliability and low cost of ownership. During the entire process, thigh bones are never subject to excessive forces but are gently handled, notwithstanding the high speeds.
A revolutionary knee cap solution
Around the knee cap of a chicken leg, there is always valuable meat which usually isn’t harvested. The new Stork Thigh Fillet System succeeds in efficiently adding the knee joint meat to the higher value thigh meat. A maximum of meat from around the knee is harvested without putting undue stress on the drumstick. What pops out – automatically and reliably, without any human labor needed – is a bare knee cap.
Yield and quality
The Stork system produces thigh fillet with highest yield. Thigh fillets now can have a maximum amount of meat attached, with almost no losses, damage or bone remnants. The final outcome of the inline thigh deboning system is a tasty thigh fillet, a completely finished end product. Meat is smooth without roughness or raggedness. Product presentation – natural or marinated – is first class, ready for retail sale and for delicious meals.