It’s easy to tell the difference when you taste it, but what’s the REAL difference between the all-natural chicken we feature at Service Foods and the poultry you might find at a typical grocery store?
First, typical “white-feathered” chicken is not natural. Several years ago, the demand for chicken became so high that the poultry industry couldn’t produce chicken fast enough. To handle the increased demand, they changed the genetics of the modern chicken to reduce the time from hatch to market to just forty days. These changes did save time and money, but at the expense of taste, texture, and other culinary qualities.
In contrast, Service Foods features chicken that is literally a different breed from grocery store chicken! These chickens have dark rugged feathers, allowing them to live well outdoors—in a true free-range environment. Commercial chicken houses can have up to twenty thousand chickens per house. Big commercial chicken houses are known as “solid wall houses,” because they are closed in, ventilated with high velocity fans and lit with artificial lighting.
On small family farms in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, these free-range chickens are raised in houses that hold 60% fewer birds, giving them more space to move about. The buildings have open sides to allow natural lighting and ventilation. The chickens have access to the outside, and are never given hormones, antibiotics, or growth stimulants. In total, these birds are given an additional five to six weeks to grow to maturity. In addition to being chemically pure, these chickens are treated to a better diet. They eat an all-grain diet with no animal byproducts.
Now let’s talk about food safety – a topic that’s often in the news. Usually, chickens are cleaned and frozen in a communal water bath with thousands of other chickens, a process that allows chlorinated water to be absorbed and alter taste. In addition, the water makes the birds weigh more, allowing them to be sold at a higher weight, even though they do not have more meat. Most importantly it promotes cross-contamination. This special breed of chicken - the Poulet Rouge Fermier – is humanely processed and cleaned in a USDA inspected processing plant, where each chicken is individually air chilled. This special process prevents cross-contamination, making our chicken not only safer, but tastier to eat.