Rising feed prices, are functional feed ingredients still profitable?
Thanks to the rising population and growing income of emerging countries, the FAO Outlook 2021–2030 predicts global meat consumption is expected to grow by 1.4%. However, looking specifically to Europe, total meat consumption per capita is expected to decline with less pork and beef being consumed while poultry demand will still develop—though slower than in previous decades (Figure 1). It is believed part of this observed shift in animal protein demand is due to increasing awareness for sustainability and consideration of animal welfare among consumers.
European meat consumption per capita (kg)
According to data from the European Commission, poultry meat prices vary across European countries, primarily because of
- Rates of exportation for legs and full carcasses compared to the importation of breast meat
- Consumer preference for white poultry meat over dark meat
- Price differences between cuts/products (i.e., whole chicken, deboned breast meat, whole legs)
Since breast meat represents over half of the carcass value, all poultry meat companies in Europe emphasize the efficiency of breast meat production in both quality and quantity.
MCFAs improve breast meat
In the past decade, numerous research projects have investigated the use of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in broiler diets to achieve leaner meat and better performance of broiler growth. In 2014, Shokrollahi B. et al. published that free activated MCFAs have a positive effect on poultry protein deposition and on the reduction of abdominal fat deposition. Typically, the reduction in abdominal fat can be attributed to the enhancement of fatty acid synthesis and oxidation (Murase et al., 2001).
In 2018, Khatibjooa found MCFAs stimulate the release of insulin, which encourages glucose uptake to support breast muscle development. Plus, the resulting energy from the oxidation of glucose can be used for protein synthesis.
In this regard, the National Poultry Research Centre in Czech Slovakia (2021) showed that, on average, breast meat yield improved by 0.74%, and abdominal fat was reduced from 1.02% to 0.88% after adding Aromabiotic® Poultry (an MCFAs based product) to the feed. At the same time, the weight gain was raised by 27 grams at 35 days, and the feed conversion ratio (FCR) was increased by 2.6 points (Table 1).
Economic values of Aromabiotic® Poultry application in feed
Based on this data, it is clear that improving breast meat yield and reducing FCR has a high impact on profitability in the poultry meat chain. Thus, more profits can be gained—depending on the region— by up to 0.084 euros per bird with the inclusion of MCFAs.
More than profit: Supports welfare too
In 2015, Khosravinia et al. examined the effect of Aromabiotic® Poultry on litter quality and footpad lesions. The study concluded the MFCAs reduce litter caking, hock burns, and footpad lesions significantly. As such, it also contributes to reducing the risk of breast blisters and breast burns. This is similar to the results of a research project carried out at Shandong Gaiya Biotechnology Company Ltd., (China, 2019), which indicated that the moisture content of the feces was reduced from 76.3% to 74.9% when Aromabiotic® Poultry was included.
The research referred to in this article shows that Aromabiotic® Poultry fits both the objectives of the poultry meat producers (efficiency and profitability of the meat production process) as well as the requirements of the consumers (improved animal welfare and sustainability). Increasing the breast meat quality, with MCFAs, enhances carcass value while reducing the total cost. This impacts the profitability of the poultry meat producers significantly. Therefore, poultry meat producers achieve greater profitability when they utilize functional ingredients in the dietary composition.