Duck processing varies by region

First Duck Meat Quality Conference held in Bangkok, Thailand

Arjan Schrauwen Duck Conference

During the recent Duck Meat Quality Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Arjan Schrauwen, Marel’s duck specialist, gave a keynote speech about the present state of affairs of duck processing.


Duck processing has evolved considerably since 1989, when it implied 3,600 ducks per hour, with mainly whole birds as end products. Nowadays, processing capacity is up to 6,000 dph, resulting in whole products, cut-up parts, deboned meat and further processed duck food.

This increase in capacity has been made possible by continuous innovations in processing automation. Particularly Marel has contributed to the development of dedicated pluckers for specific areas, an additional waxing process, automated evisceration and automated cut-up.

Vary by region

It largely depends on the end products which are in demand by the market how a duck processor should configure the operations in the plant. There are many questions to answer. Does the whole end product still comprise head, neck or feet? How should the skin look like? Should duck meat be already cut up in parts? Should it be fully deboned, portioned or even further processed?

How end consumers like their duck meat best and which duck breed is preferred can vary by region. Duck meat in Europe totally differs from the Peking Duck in China.

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Product requirements

In the process, the way ducks are scalded, plucked and waxed depends on the final product requirements. Specialized pluckers and a multi-stage waxing process can be implemented to get the appropriate results. Marel can automate the entire duck evisceration process, including a vent opener, eviscerator, head remover and neck skin cleaner. Here again, the array of evisceration modules and product harvesters depends on the final product specifications demanded by the customers.

Versatile tools

Marel’s ACM-NT system is able to automate duck cut-up processes to any desired level. Modules for all sorts of operations at a capacity of 6,000 ducks per hour are available for both air and water chilled products. This solution allows for neck skin cutting, wing stretching, second joint and first joint cutting, front half cutting and anatomical leg cutting. The modular set-up allows for the production of various products, segmented wings, whole legs, breast caps or front halves.

Extremely valuable and versatile processing tools made by Marel are available for duck processors anywhere in the world. Automated duck processing can considerably reduce labor dependence. As the poor availability of workforce remains a persistent issue around the world, and hourly capacities are increasing, labor-saving automation is very welcome. While mimicking skilled manual operations with mechanical solutions, Marel’s automation doesn’t compromise in any way yield or presentation of the end product.


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