QSR cut-up must be modular
For the cut-up process, it is again all about the specifications. The line should offer the flexibility to switch between different requirements. A cut-up line that can only supply products according to Jollibee specifications will not work when KFC products or other cut-up products need to be produced. Such flexibility can, however, easily be achieved by integrating dedicated modules into the cut-up line, which can be engaged or bypassed when the requirements change. A great example is the keelbone cutting module, which can provide an additional breast portion when required. Any QSR partition of the chicken in multiple pieces is possible using the appropriate modules in Marel’s ACM-NT line.
Further downstream, in the coating process, flexibility is crucial too, as QSRs are shifting towards more local product diversification, homestyle appearance, premium products, etc. Therefore, line change-over time must be minimal to secure the best ROI. Marel provides solutions such as the RevoBreader to switch from a drum breading mode for homestyle products to a flatbed mode for homogenous coating without needing a machine exchange. Combined with other modules that can quickly be engaged or bypassed in the Coating Line, this allows for highly flexible, voluminous production of a wide range of products.
For the injection, marination and tumbling and coating processes, product quality and uniformity are also key. The line needs to have the ability to produce high throughputs with optimal consistency.
Finally, strict requirements regarding traceability and food safety must be met. Marel can support this with a complete manufacturing execution system. This MES software collects real-time information from the equipment on the factory floor to trace each product, as well as its weight and quality characteristics, from live bird receiving up to final dispatch.
Portioning boneless QSR products
In addition to bone-in products such as wings, drumsticks, and 8/9-piece buckets, QSRs also offer a significant amount of boneless products. Such products made from fresh deboned muscle meat are in particularly high demand today. Despite nuggets remaining popular – some QSR chains now require whole muscle meat only for their nuggets – strips cut from breast and thigh muscle meat are emerging as the new rising stars. Burger products featuring breaded strips are rapidly becoming best sellers and potentially setting a new trend.
These boneless products need to be portioned. When doing so, optimal use of raw material and preventing waste is mandatory. Marel possesses the expertise in producing poultry strips and cubes with the desired characteristics and quality, regardless of the type of raw material used. The inline solution, centered around the I-Cut 122 TrimSort portion cutter, operates automatically without manual labor needed. It has the capability to generate high volumes of boneless products that meet QSR specifications, while minimizing giveaway.
The portioning system can also have a very flexible setup. Processors who don’t produce strips day-in-day-out, want to generate other types of products too. That can be done by adding a SmartSplitter, a SensorX, a RoboBatcher or even another component to the line. In this way, the same portioning line setup can also produce burgers, tenders and schnitzels.