JBS SA, already the world's largest beef producer, has set the goal to become the largest distributor by the end of next year. Having spent a year reducing its debt, the company is ready to make acquisitions and is looking at several offers. “Everybody has been calling, because when they look at our balance sheet, we are de-leveraged and we have cash,” said Joesley Mendonca Batista, CEO, according to a Bloomberg report. “We talk to many people every day.”

The company is not in any formal talks, Batista said. However, he added, “We are confident that we will be, at the end of next year, not only the major producer but the major distribution platform” of frozen products.

Source: Bloomberg

Allen Family Foods names new president

Allen Family Foods of Seaford, Del., has named Robert “Bob” Turley as president and CEO. He succeeds Charles Allen III, who will remain with the company as chairman. "Bob is an experienced and well known veteran to the poultry industry and we look forward to having him lead our company," Allen said.

Turley had served as president and chief operating officer of Perdue, where he worked from 1993 until his retirement in 2008. He has also worked at Carolina Turkeys and ConAgra Foods. Allen Family Foods produces more than 500 million pounds of poultry products per year and employs more than 3,000 people in Delaware, Maryland and North Carolina.

Source: Allen Family Foods, WBOC News

Canadian researchers exploring new types of poultry meat

A group of researchers at the University of Alberta is investigating several promising approaches that may lead to a variety of new poultry meat products that exhibit enhanced taste and nutritional characteristics and would justify higher margins. They are also looking into a new technology (for protein recovery) that would enable producers to recapture some of the nutritional and dollar value that is currently being lost in the production process.

Leading the work is Dr. Mirko Betti, an assistant professor of poultry meat science in the University of Alberta’s Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science. Joining him on the protein recovery project is a team of seven graduate students, one post-doctoral student and a technician.

“Dr. Betti’s work is representative of some of the very best work that poultry scientists have committed themselves to, for the benefit of the poultry industry and consumers,” said Poultry Science Association President Dr. Mike Lacy.

Calling attention to some of the market forces driving his work, Betti said, “Today’s consumers look at food differently than in the past. They are typically more aware of the nutritional aspects of what they eat and, increasingly, take a more active role in determining what foods best serve their health needs and overall lifestyle. This trend offers an opportunity for poultry processors.”

The market for poultry products has undergone a sea change over the last three decades. In the U.S. market in 1975, whole birds accounted for 61 percent of sales, cut-up 32 percent and “further processed” products only 7 percent. According to the National Chicken Council, by 2008, these numbers had been almost completely reversed, with further processed poultry products accounting for 48 percent of the market, cut-up 41 percent, and whole birds just 11 percent.

Betti’s team is investigating methods to recover proteins from mechanically separated poultry meat and spent hens. The team is developing a new technology that will enable not only the extraction of proteins from these by-products, but also a reduction of fat content and the removal of heme pigments. The team’s current work is predicated on earlier research that Betti did in conjunction with Dr. Daniel Fletcher at the University of Georgia .

Possible applications of the recaptured proteins include meat fillers, edible protein film (casings), biodegradable packaging, and coating agents.

“One additional advantage of using poultry proteins as functional ingredients for food applications is that humans seem to have a lower predisposition to allergenic reactions towards proteins sourced from poultry than they do to other sources of protein, such as fish, soybeans, eggs or milk,” said Betti. He said the team hopes to have a provisional patent on the technology in the U.S. soon.

Dr. Betti is also working on technology to increase omega-3 fatty acids and stabilize these fatty acids during processing and cooking (boiling, frying and roasting). Because white meat is very lean, it is difficult to enrich with omega-3. Dark meat, however, is much easier and faster to enrich: it can be made to have almost the same composition as salmon within 4-6 days through the use of bird flax seeds or other sources of omega-3.

Source: Poultry Science Association