Finnish Company Pulverizes Animal Bones Into Food
In an attempt to make the meat industry more efficient, one company is incorporating pulverized animal bones into foods, Emily Baron Cadloff reported for the US trade publication Modern Farmer.
Photo Insert: Superground has developed a recipe for chicken nuggets that contains ground chicken, vegetable binding agents, and approximately 15% to 20% pulverized bone.
Americans consume a lot of chicken and show no signs of slowing down. Since the 1970s, the amount of chicken consumed has consistently increased year after year. Americans consumed an average of 98 pounds of chicken per person in 2021, amounting to approximately eight billion birds per year.
Then there's the 1.42 billion chicken wings consumed during Super Bowl weekend, as well as the more than 2.3 billion chicken nuggets consumed annually. That's a lot of chicken, which also means a lot of processing—and a lot of waste.
However, one Finnish company says it has discovered a technique to harvest 30% more chicken from the same animal, reducing expenses and waste. The solution is straightforward: bones.
SuperGround, a Helsinki-based food technology business, has developed a procedure for breaking down previously inedible bones so that the mass can be added to food products such as meatballs or chicken nuggets.
“You are creating a lot more food from the same base of materials,” CEO Santtu Vekkeli adds, noting that chicken bones are nutritionally similar to the meat itself.
High heat and pressure are used in the SuperGround process, which softens the bones at first. Vekkeli explains that the texture isn't exactly gelatinous, but it's soft enough to consume on its own. Some people, he claims, will be immediately familiar with the process, such as those from nations where boiling and consuming whole bones are cultural norms.
Some cuisines in Indonesia and many African countries involve cooking bones until they are soft enough to eat, and many families have a tradition of eating bones. However, Vekkeli claims that SuperGround's clients are not gnawing on whole bones, but rather mixing them into familiar dishes.
The SuperGround technique begins with heated and pressured bones, then pulverizes the mash into a breadcrumb-like consistency and incorporates it as a component in Western-style dishes.
The company developed a recipe for chicken nuggets that contains ground chicken, vegetable binding agents, and approximately 15% to 20% pulverized bone.