Pre-slaughter nutritional strategies to improve the technological characteristics of chicken meat

Today, the major challenges for the French poultry industry are sustainability and competitiveness in the world market. The objective of this project was to improve the sustainability of broiler production systems through the use of innovative feeding strategies. However all new sustainable technologies must also continue to meet market standards and maintain a competitive price in the world market. Muscle energy reserves (muscle glycogen concentration) at slaughter largely determine the ultimate pH of meat which in turn determines the quality of the final product. The ability to modify muscle glycogen concentration through diet has been studied. In this study a number of pre-slaughter feed modifications were trialed in order to evaluate their effects on animal growth, carcass composition and ultimate pH. This approach has shown that specific, pre-slaughter nutritional strategies can improve the ultimate pH of meat, and therefore meat quality, without compromising animal performance. For practical applications, these preliminary results open new prospects for improving the quality and consistency of meat, without impacting animal performance, thereby offering significant gains in both sustainability and competitiveness.