One of the leading and largest poultry companies in Europe take marinating and processing of poultry one step further in a joint partnership with food processing specialists Cabinplant. The new production lines are more flexible and require an absolute minimum of cleaning. Now, it has become easier to fulfil the demand of the retail sector.


A notable European poultry producer has invested in a more flexible and smoother set-up for marinating chicken meat in order to meet the needs of the retail sector. Today, supermarkets need frequent deliveries of fresh and varied marinated products on display in the counter. Thanks to their new investment, the poultry company is now able to produce and deliver small batches with a frequent shift of marinades.

Traditionally, the marinating process is extensive and dirty. The drum is filled with 500-1000 kg of minute-steaks or other types of meat and 100 litres of marinade is added. The meat is tumbled for appr. 15 minutes and then transported as bulk to the weighing and packing line. Afterwards, the production equipment like tumbler, elevator, weigher, tools for the weigher, and the marinade dispenser requires time-consuming cleaning. This is now a thing of the past.


Post-marinating allows for small production batches

At their production facilities, the client decided to install the Cabinplant solution for marinating poultry meat to get a more flexible set-up. The solution means that the chicken meat can be marinated in small accurate portions and filled in trays to reduce time consuming cleaning and changeover procedures when switching to other product variants to be marinated and portioned.  


- It works! Manual handling has been eliminated, and the chicken parts are weighed precisely, marinated, and packed in trays. All the meat is processed without getting stuck in the equipment and we now have a much smoother and more efficient set-up, says a spokesperson for the company where, for competitive reasons, they would like to maintain their anonymity.


- The Cabinplant system disrupts the traditional process because marinating is done after portion weighing. The marinade is added to the fresh meat in a special mixing-tool just before the meat is dropped in the tray. Thus, only the tool and the dispenser need to be cleaned, allowing a more frequent shift of variants, says Henning Ingemann Hansen, Director of Product Development at Cabinplant in Haarby, Denmark.


- Sticky and pre-marinated chicken products can cause problems for any multihead weigher system, Ingemann continues, adding that the process was developed in close cooperation with the customer, who is one of Europe's leading and best-known poultry manufacturers for the retail trade.


Change-over time significantly reduced

The change-over time is down to 10-15 minutes (from 45 minutes) and further the cleaning time is reduced with up to 80 percent due to less equipment that needs cleaning. In addition, the meat is treated far more gently because it will no longer be marinated in a large drum with perhaps several hundred kg of meat.


- Blind tests showed that consumers preferred the taste and look of the Cabinplant-products, due to the gentler treatment, says Henning Ingemann Hansen.


Comprehensive line-up at two plants

The client has installed the Cabinplant marinating process at several lines in two of their largest plants. The lines marinate products like minute-steaks, fillets and other chicken parts. Each line typically performs 40-50 portions per minutes. The systems are integrated in the packing line just after the weighing process. Each line contains several of the marinating cassettes to keep up the speed of the processing line.


The marinade dispenser can be set up to give a variable quantity of marinade to outbalance the small variations in the weight of the meat portions. This results in packages of more consistent weights.


Partnership based on trust and results

The client and Cabinplant have had a strategic partnership for many years. According to a company spokesperson, it all started when Cabinplant showed their new multihead weigher with a screw feed solution for feeding the meat at an exhibition. It appealed to them because it could automate the weighing process and the packing of chicken parts in trays, that could not be handled by the traditional weighers.


- Our two companies have grown together. Cabinplant has contributed to the ongoing development of our production processes, particularly within weighing and packing, enabling us to deliver ever more sophisticated chicken products. As a result, we have been able to offer an efficient service to the market for convenience products that just continues growing, concludes the company spokesperson.