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Chicken Consumers’ Top Choice Again: Survey

Chicken continues to be Canadians’ most popular meat, according to a new industry survey.

Consumers eat more chicken than beef or pork because they find it tastier, fresher and a better value for their food dollar, according to the survey done for Chicken Farmers of Canada.

“Chicken outperforms other meats in most categories,” say survey highlights presented to the CFC board of directors this summer.

The survey, conducted for the agency every three years, found respondents eat chicken about twice a week, 71 per cent of it white meat.

People also cook and eat chicken at home more often than they consume it in fast-food restaurants and other outlets.

That’s partly because the recession has more people cooking at home these days than eating out. But it’s also because supermarkets carry a growing number of easy-to-prepare chicken products, said Lisa Bishop-Spencer, a CFC spokesperson.

That includes precooked chicken sliced and ready for use, as well as raw product in a ready-to-cook dish (e. g., chicken with ricotta), she said.

“In terms of the cuts that are being offered, I see a lot more chicken than I ever have before in the grocery store.”

Bishop-Spencer said North Americans tend to prefer white meat over dark by a wide margin because it’s perceived as more wholesome (leaner, less fat, low in cholesterol). Boneless skinless chicken breast is the most popular cut.

But others prefer dark meat because it retains moisture better when roasted or deep fried.

Chicken continues to top the list for per capita meat consumption, according to Statistics Canada. In 2009, the average Canadian consumed an average 31.3 kg of chicken, followed by beef (28.6 kg) and pork (23.4 kg).

The results show chicken producers are doing a good job, Bishop-Spencer said.

“The industry is working and consumers are enjoying the product.”

She said the survey shows Canadians are increasingly interested about where their chicken comes from and actively look for locally produced product.

But they also appear to have distorted views about how chickens in Canada are raised.

The survey, conducted between May and June 2010, reveals many people believe chickens are given steroids and hormone supplements and their feed is treated with pesticides.

CFC plans to launch a new “consumer-based” website Nov. 24, said Bishop-Spencer. Besides carrying information about chicken production, it will contain a new database for recipes. CFC will also have a Facebook page along with the website. [email protected]

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