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Chicken School

Nutrient Analysis Report – Fresh Canadian Chicken

Consumers are increasingly demanding more transparency and information on the foods they eat.

With health, fitness and nutrition having become hot topics among Canadian consumers, Chicken Farmers of Canada commissioned the first industry study of the nutritional value of chicken in nearly 20 years. This Nutrient Analysis Report provides a thorough examination of the nutritional value of today’s chicken and re-emphasizes its strength and value as a healthy option for Canadian families.

Executive Summary

Consumers want to know they are making smart choices when they put food on the table for their families. Chicken has been seen as a healthy choice for years, but until now; Chicken Farmers of Canada did not have the most up to date information to support this claim.

The following report provides information on the nutrient composition and comparisons of various cuts of organic and non-organic (referred to as regular in the report) chicken, for a 100 g serving, from data collected in 2013 by Silliker Labs, an international food testing laboratory. This report also provides a comparative analysis between the data provided by Silliker in 2013 and the data from Health Canada’s nutritional database, The Canadian Nutrient File (CNF), for a 100 g serving size of seven cuts of chicken for regular broilers (the CNF values are for regular chicken because it currently does not have any data on organic cuts). The raw data provided by Silliker and the analysis of the data in this report provide CFC with useful information to continue promoting chicken as a healthy choice.

The following cuts of chicken were roasted according to CFC cooking guidelines and tested at a Silliker laboratory in Markham, Ontario:

  • Regular and Organic Chicken Breast (skinless)
  • Regular and Organic Chicken Breast (with skin)
  • Regular Breast with skin on and removed after roasting
  • Regular and Organic Chicken Thighs (skinless)
  • Regular and Organic Chicken Thighs (with skin)
  • Regular and Organic Chicken Legs (skinless)
  • Regular and Organic Chicken Legs (with skin)
  • Regular and Organic Chicken Wings

Key Findings

  • All cuts of chicken, both regular and organic, are eligible for multiple nutrient claims under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulations. This report lists eligible claims for regular cuts; the most widely purchased cuts by Canadian consumers.
  • The main nutritional differences are seen when chicken is cooked with its skin on vs. skinless. Whereas all cuts of chicken can carry the claim “excellent source of protein” independent of whether or not they have skin on, a “lean” or “extra lean” nutrient claim cannot be made for any cut when the skin is on.
  • The nutrient content of chicken breast differs only slightly compared to dark meat; breast has more niacin (vitamin B3) and less fat, including saturated fat, than dark meat, but dark meat also contains higher amounts of zinc. Dark meat also contains more vitamin B12 than white; almost three fold more or about 47% of the DV. The content of the other vitamins and minerals analyzed didn’t differ in a meaningful way between breast and dark meat.
  • When comparing regular & organic cuts with skin, the primary difference is the fat content; the skins of regular cuts have more fat than organic. However, once the skin is removed, the fat content of meat only is similar across most cuts for both organic and regular cut.
  • A breast of chicken cooked with skin-on and then removed has less fat and calories, and more moisture than a skinless breast. This means that consumers can cook their chicken with the skin on, retaining all the moisture and flavour they love, and then remove it prior to serving to achieve the same health benefit as a skinless cut.
  • Finally, it is difficult to make conclusive comparisons with our data to that found in the CNF due to varying methodologies. Silliker Labs Markham, Ontario laboratory tested 15 random samples of chicken from the Metropolitan Toronto area, whereas Health Canada’s data are weighted means of raw aggregated data from nationally representative sample sets.

Click here to download and read the full report.