Just a quick post in response to an episode of River Cottage recently repeated on TV.
The protein-to-fat content in three types of chicken was compared. The three types of chicken were:
- the bog-standard cheapo that takes up most of the supermaket shelves,
- corn-fed RSPCA-approved that gets a bit of space, and
- free-range organic that only gets a sliver of shelf.
I’ve been trying to find confirmation of River Cottage’s findings from other sources on the internet but failed so far. I couldn’t even find a River Cottage link to pass on.
So, relying on my memory, the amount of protein in the cheap chook was so low as to be a waste of time and effort if your aim is improve the amount of protein in your diet. The surprise of the day – the corn-fed, RSPCA-approved meat wasn’t much better. It was the last one, the most expensive one, that provided a decent amount of omega-3 rich protein. It also had less fat in the fat-to-protein ratio than the other two.
It was noted that the free-range bird required access to different grasses and all the little bugs that live there. The producer also had to give the bird a longer growing time so the grasses and bugs could become the useful protein. This, of course, adds to the cost of the final product.
I can’t re-run the experiments myself on the local chooks, but I did notice something today when I selected certified organic thigh meat at the supermarket. The organic meat was much darker in colour and had less fat. The darker colour is supposed to be a good indicator. I particularly noticed the fat content because I’ve been chopping it out of the meat before cooking – even the vein of fat that is hiding inside the thigh.
But I also noticed the price difference. For $10, I can get 6 pieces of “please believe us – we’re nice to our chickens” or 4 certified organic pieces.
Thankfully, I do have a choice. Even so, I’m baulking at going totally organic. I suspect that for now it will be a mix of the two.