Three Cheers for National Chicken Month
Happy National Chicken Month! Every September, we salute America’s favorite protein-packed food. Delicious and nutritious, chicken deserves a hearty pat on the back from all of us and this year, like every year, there’s a lot to celebrate. But what’s the best way to honor the bird of the month? We have some ideas for you below.
A Sneak-Beak into the Latest Chicken Trends
As mentioned, chicken is the No. 1 most consumed meat in the U.S. This and several other facts may surprise you about the American food landscape in 2022. In honor of National Chicken Month, check out these insights…
- Per US Foods, dark meat chicken popularity is on the rise: chicken thighs are up 105% over the past 4 years and 27% over the past year alone, according to food research firm Datassential.
- Due to improvements in breeding, nutrition, veterinary care and bird health, chickens are physically bigger today on average than in the past. This means farmers not only produce more food to feed our growing global population, but do so with less environmental impact and fewer resources.
- You may know that you can reduce your carbon footprint based on the foods you eat, but did you know that chicken is considered one of the top 5 best foods for a Climatarian diet? So when you choose chicken, you’re making not only a delicious and nutritious choice, but also a sustainable one.
- U.S. consumers plan to buy more chicken than any other type of protein in the year ahead. According to a recent survey by IRI, consumers cite nutrition, value and versatility as the top reasons for eating more chicken.
Get to Know a Chicken Farmer
For the chicken farmers and producers responsible for raising healthy broiler chickens, it’s not just a job—it’s their purpose. What better way to celebrate chicken than by meeting a person who cares for chicks until they’re fully grown?
Georgie Cartanza owns and operates an organic poultry farm in Delaware with 4 houses that place over 800,000 broiler chickens per year. This means her farm could feed 780,000 families a rotisserie chicken one night per year!
“I would like people to know how much farmers care about the animals they raise,” Georgie said. “They give their time, attention and care to ensure birds have what they need and are comfortable. Chicken farmers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When an alarm goes off, they get up and go out to check on those birds; day or night, in the cold, in the heat, in the rain and in the snow,” she said.
Georgie also works for the University of Delaware as a Poultry Extension Agent to build awareness about best poultry management practices and the community impact the industry has through research, outreach and education. Georgie has received awards for environmental stewardship, and in 2017, she was chosen as the first Nuffield International Farming Scholar from the U.S. The Nuffield Farming Scholarship gave her the opportunity to travel to 8 countries exploring new sustainable technologies that could benefit the poultry industry.
Hit the Grill (At Least) One More Time
It’s National Chicken Month, so let’s eat some chicken! The hottest days of the year may be past, but the conditions for outdoor cooking are excellent. Fire up the gas or charcoal, grab that marinade or spice rub blend and get your grill on at least once more this year. But before you do—check out these chicken grilling tips.
- Keep it clean. Be sure all of your cooking utensils have been washed with hot water and soap. Also wash hands before handling raw chicken and other food items. If you’re using a cutting board, wash it with hot water and soap after you’ve prepared chicken and before handling other food.
- Don’t rinse that chicken! This practice can spread bacteria around your sink and kitchen. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry can only be killed when cooked to a safe internal temperature.
- Check that temperature. A food thermometer is the best way to accurately read the internal temperature of your chicken. This tool allows you to know exactly when your chicken has reached the safe temperature of 165°F throughout. Bonus: this is also the optimal temperature for getting the most flavor out of your chicken!
Speaking of National Chicken Month… We’re getting hungry! Check out the Chicken Roost for recipe ideas, so you can celebrate in the tastiest way this September—by eating some delicious, nutritious and sustainable chicken.