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Study Reveals Marketing Opportunity for Organic Chicken

05 April 2013

ITALY - According to a new study, trained tasters were able to distinguish chicken from commercial birds reared under standard and organic conditions and slow-growing organic birds, while consumer preferences were affected by the label information.

Trained taste panelists were able to discriminate chicken breasts from different sources, whereas untrained consumers were not, according to new research from Italy. However, consumer liking was markedly affected by the information given on the organic production system, thus providing a tool to differentiate the product in an increasingly competitive market.

In their paper in Poultry Science recently, Fabio Napolitano of the Università degli Studi della Basilicata in Potenza and co-authors from Perugia, Ancona and Udine explain that they used conventional chicken from a fast-growing strain (CC), organic chicken from a slow-growing strain (OSG) and organic chicken from a fast-growing strain (OFG) to assess descriptive sensory differences between organic and conventional breasts, to verify whether differences were perceived by consumers and to evaluate the effect of information about organic production on liking.

A conventional quantitative–descriptive analysis was performed by a trained panel of 10 members on breast slices (1-cm thick) grilled at 300°C.

A 150-member consumer panel (from southern, central and northern Italy) rated CC, OSG and OFG breasts according to three types of evaluation: tasting without information (perceived liking), information without tasting (expected liking) and tasting with information (actual liking).

Breasts from different sources were clearly discriminated by the trained panel as meat from CC was perceived more tender than OFG (P<0.05) and OSG (P<0.001), more fibrous than OFG (P<0.05) and OSG (P<0.001), and leaving more residue than OFG (P<0.05) and OSG (P<0.001), whereas OSG was assessed as less juicy before swallowing than OFG and CC (P<0.05) and less fibrous than OFG (P<0.05).

No significant differences were observed by consumers for perceived liking.

However, consumer expected liking scores were higher for organic than for conventional products (P<0.001) and actual liking of organic breasts moved toward the expectation. In particular, actual liking scores were higher than perceived liking in blind conditions (P<0.001 and P<0.01 for OFG and OSG, respectively).


Napolitano F., C. Castellini, S. Naspetti, E. Piasentier, A. Girolami and A. Braghieri. 2013. Consumer preference for chicken breast may be more affected by information on organic production than by product sensory properties. Poult. Sci. 92(3):820-826. doi: 10.3382/ps.2012-02633

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