Half & Half

Half and Half basically denotes the percentage of dark meat to white meat on the current chicken population. Years ago it was considered a 60/40 mix but with all of the new breeding techniques, the white and dark meat is about the same percentage of the bird. Where this presents a problem for US growers is that Americans love white meat much more than dark meat. (the breast and wing are white meat—-the drum and thigh are dark meat). We are the only country in the world that favors white over dark. So the question begs—what do the growers do with all the dark meat? The answer is very simple—they export it to the countries that love the dark meat! Last year we exported 3.6 billion metric tons of chicken meat. Now all of it was not the dark meat—there was some white meat—but the majority was dark meat.

So all is good when these other countries are buying our poultry. But early this year—the bird flu hit the United States. Now in reality, it did not kill many of the birds we get our chicken meat from. Where it did its damage is in the egg market and the turkey market where millions of birds were affected. But all the countries heard was “bird flu”. So most all of our foreign customers put a ban on US poultry. So the outcome—the US is swimming in chicken dark meat. And when they cant sell it fresh—they freeze it. So all of the freezers in the US are full of chicken dark meat. In turn this depresses the prices– so chicken dark meat prices are very low and going lower. This is good for the consumer—but real bad for the growers! So if you can find a way to use dark meat in your recipes—now is the time to do it. This low price will not last forever!!

George Saffarrans