Norsk Kylling reaches for the highest levels

Achieving animal well-being and highest capacity with Marel Poultry


Norsk Kylling (Norwegian Chicken) is one of Norway’s most important poultry processors. The company is building a high-capacity greenfield poultry processing plant in Orkdal to supply all REMA 1000 supermarkets with Norwegian chicken meat. Having the ambition to meet the highest standards of animal well-being and sustainability, there was only one choice for live bird handling and anesthetization: Marel Poultry’s ATLAS and CAS SmoothFlow systems.

As a part of REMA 1000, one of the biggest supermarket groups in Scandinavia, Norsk Kylling is supposed to supply all chicken products to the supermarkets. At the moment, the output of the current processing plant in Støren can’t achieve that. Therefore, the company decided to build an absolutely state-of-the-art greenfield plant in Furumoen, Orkdal, situated at 60 km distance. Norsk Kylling has the ambition to make this one of the most modern and sustainable poultry processing plants in the world.

Only ATLAS meets the regulations

Norway may not be part of the EU, but the country follows all directives of the European Union and even goes beyond that. Rules and regulations concerning animal well-being, veterinary inspection and hygiene are even tighter in Norway than elsewhere. In an early stage, Norsk Kylling already recognized that, in the entire world of poultry processing, there’s only one live bird handling system that can meet these severe requirements: it’s Marel Poultry’s ATLAS system.  


A focal point in Norsk Kylling’s pre-planning is sustainability. ATLAS complies with this requirement by simply needing fewer truck movements and therefore emitting less CO2. Owing to the ingenious SmartStack design with a loadable pallet, each truck transport can take up to 38% more broilers. It may seem paradoxical, but at the same time, animal well-being is served. Birds aren’t packed to achieve the reduced ecological footprint; on the contrary, the industry record tray height of 27cm gives them the largest headroom ever.


For Norsk Kylling, one of the many convincing aspects of ATLAS was the versatility of the SmartStack module. Project Manager Håvard Staverlokk was particularly fond of the SmartStack’s flip-over sides. “We can easily take out the side panels when a bird appears to be sick or in distress. After that, we’re able to remove that specific bird from the transport module without having to destack layers or unload the truck.”

A specific issue is Norway’s cold weather during transport. Norwegian trucks don’t have side curtains as is usual in the rest of the world; that would be too cold. Instead, they use completely closed doors to keep out the freezing cold and keep in the regulated temperature and ventilation. ATLAS’ own ventilation option, the unique Airflo floor, which makes use of the Venturi principle to ensure a continuous flow of air to birds during transport, blends in perfectly with these transport circumstances. Norsk Kylling preordered 12 SmartStack modules to test in advance the transport situation and to check if truck adaptations are needed. In this way, the company lives up to its reputation for attention to detail.

Food safety

Hygiene in food processing is very important in the Norwegian market. Food safety and prevention of cross-contamination with pathogens is priority number one for Norsk Kylling. Therefore, thorough washing of the transport modules is crucial. Marel Poultry paid extra attention to the cleanability of its SmartStacks, making use of an entirely automated washing system, similar to a car wash. A large number of precisely aimed nozzles give trays a thorough cleansing. A great asset is the absence of a container frame; mostly such a frame is the most difficult part to clean. Instead, all SmartStack layers are cleaned individually and leave no blind spots for the intensive washing, setting new benchmarks in transport module hygiene.


Norsk Kylling recognized the dual entity of Marel Poultry’s ATLAS and CAS SmoothFlow systems; they perfectly cooperate in such a high-standard environment. After being automatically destacked in a smooth way, the separate trays still hold the birds where they are, while they’re moving calmly towards the stunning system. Fully complying with the strict Norwegian regulations, CAS SmoothFlow puts broilers gradually to sleep using different stages of air mixtures. Only after being sedated, the broilers are shackled, so they’re not upside-down when conscious.

Animal well-being at high speed

All measures have been taken to ensure a humane treatment of the broilers. The company said in a statement: "Animal welfare has been given top priority by focusing on expertise and investments in operation and technology for highest animal welfare." Both ATLAS and CAS SmoothFlow allow Norsk Kylling to start the process at a capacity of up to 15,000 bph. Together, they’re the perfect match for Norsk Kylling’s process, of which the takeoff is guaranteed to have the highest possible quality level.

About Norsk Kylling

Norsk Kylling is part of the REMA 1000 concern, which is owned by the Reitan Group. “Norsk Kylling is an industrial story we at REMA 1000 are proud of. Now we’re going to take the next step by building a state-of-the-art processing plant,” says Chairman Ole Robert Reitan of Norsk Kylling.
CEO Kjell Stokbakken says, “We want to build the world's most energy-efficient production plant in Orkdal. It will be one of the largest investments in Norwegian food production ever. The factory will be the world leader of its kind and provide a solid foundation in Central Norway for future food production based on locally produced chicken. The plant will have innovative energy solutions. Through this, Norsk Kylling will be able to reduce CO2 emissions considerably and aims to achieve a very low climate footprint compared to industry standard.”

The Norwegian market for white meat is already large, and the annual growth has been almost 5% since 2005. “The consumers’ choice is a clear signal. They want healthy products that are short-traveled, traceable and produced in a sustainable manner. At the new plant, we’ll be able to do this on an even larger scale than today, and ensure consumers’ access to REMA 1000's poultry food, even when demand increases,” says Ole Reitan.

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