"Eight years ago we had an overproduction of thighs. That is why we have paid more attention to deboning thighs. We use this meat now to produce both deli meats and specialties such as chicken nuggets, fresh or marinated thigh steaks, thigh burgers, minced meat, meatballs and other processed products, mainly for the fresh market. In eight years we have grown from 8 tons of boneless leg meat a week to 40 tons!"
"Of course you need to have a certain balance between thigh meat and breast meat," explains Alain Deschenaux. “For example, to produce our burgers, we only use thigh meat and not mechanically separated meat. We have clearly chosen to develop high-value thigh products. Consumers appreciate them and find that a thigh meat skewer remains juicy and tastier without being dry."
A chance for Swiss meat
Over the past 30 years, topical themes such as animal welfare and reducing the use of antibiotics have contributed significantly to increasing the share of the Swiss domestic market from 40% to 60%.
According to Alain Deschenaux, Micarna's strength is the complete value chain. "We manage the value chain from parent stock to the tray. Hygiene, health and welfare of our chickens are the responsibility of our own veterinarians. Our farming partners are also supported by our own team of poultry specialists.
The quality of our meat, technical monitoring, our animal welfare standards and reducing the use of antibiotics all promote Swiss meat. Thanks to prophylactic measures, more than 95% of our chickens are never in contact with antibiotics. In addition, we have been able to improve productivity and lower our prices little by little thanks to the systems and tools that Marel provides. This brings us ever closer to European prices."
"The relationship with Marel is important to us. The salesmen have remarkable technical knowledge. They are both consultants and sellers and bring a lot of value to the relationship. It is also good to know that Marel’s service technicians know our company and our installations perfectly, as we do not operate standard systems. In collaboration with Marel, we have made some specific adaptations to meet our needs."
A crucial anatomical module
Micarna recently added a JLR anatomic module to its ACM cutting line. "If we want to add maximum value to deboned thighs, an accurate cut is extremely important. If cutting results are only average, they can’t be improved afterwards. The anatomical module and its settings must be optimal and reliable. We have high expectations! The bottom line is to leave as little meat as possible on the back and to use the thigh as much as possible. By deboning a wrongly cut, damaged thigh, we would lose meat yield and productivity," says Alain Deschenaux.
"The module must be sufficiently agile to handle both large and small thighs. This is the only way to debone an entire flock. We have already noticed that this is the really strong point of the JLR module."
Micarna was founded in 1958 in Courtepin, a village in western Switzerland. Today, Micarna is the main producer of meat, poultry, fish and eggs in Switzerland, employing more than 3,000 people. Micarna belongs to the Migros distribution group and offers a wide range of meat in Migros stores and external partners. Micarna's production spans more than 20 sites and focuses on the two major sites of Courtepin and Bazenheid.
From raising parent animals, incubating eggs and raising poultry, to processing and the presence of end products in the shops, Micarna is responsible for the entire poultry value chain. Micarna’s poultry division realizes most of its turnover through Migros.
More than 90% of Micarna’s poultry products are produced under the Optigal brand. Optigal guarantees the highest quality of meat from broilers that have benefited from a growing program based on high standards for animal welfare and sustainable development.