The supermarket version of Sparky Brand’s Omega-3 rich whole chicken, news of which was broken by The Grocer (January 28, p62), will be produced by Devon farmer and processor Lloyd Maunder.
The bird raised for the product will be Lloyd Maunder’s exclusive Devonshire White, which will be reared indoors under the RSPCA’s Freedom Foods higher welfare scheme.
A Sparky Brand chicken is already on sale in Selfridges. But this is a traditional Belgian breed, Coq Ardennais, that takes 100 days to mature.
This compares with 42
days for standard British broilers, and results in a price of £5.95/kg - three times the price of a standard chicken in the UK. But Sparky Brand founder Jeremy Schwartz said that switching to the Devonshire White, which is slaughtered at 50 days, would enable it to market a chicken in supermarkets at £4.55/kg.
This is in a similar bracket to the Taste The Difference free-range West Country bird on sale in Sainsbury, which currently retails at £3.99/kg, and is also produced by Lloyd Maunder.
Schwartz said: “We knew that a 100-day chicken would be too challenging to supply the supermarkets with, but we have got that down to 50 days. It is a more affordable bird that will go into supermarkets shortly.”
The high levels of Omega-3 in the meat are achieved by feeding the chickens on a diet rich in the healthy fatty acid.
The birds’ meat provides 20% of the recommended daily intake of long chain Omega-3 in a 150g portion of skinless breast or thigh as a result.
If the skin is left on, then the same portion can provide more than 200% of a person’s recommended daily intake.
The make-up of the feed is a secret. Schwartz would only reveal that the chickens eat “Omega-3 rich plants, sourced exclusively by Sparky Brand”.
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Richard Clarke