Duck has been appreciated for its taste and nutritional qualities by most of the meat-loving population. The changing lifestyle, food consumption pattern, tastes preference of the consumer bringing the duck food in the front line in their menu, writes Suman Talukder

Duck meat has been appreciated for its taste and nutritional qualities by most of the meat-loving population. In recent years duck farming has gradually grown and become a serious segment in the poultry and meat industry, especially in Asia.


The domestic rearing of ducks for food purposes can be traced back to historic times. In recent years duck farming has gradually grown and become a serious segment in the meat and poultry industry, especially in Asia. The changing lifestyle, food consumption pattern, tastes preference of the consumer bringing the duck food in the front line in their menu. With the increasing demand for poultry meat in this part of the world, the duck industry has commenced following the same pattern of the broiler industry. More specialized business ventures are been established along with the marketing use of modern production facilities as well as up-to-date processing plants and product marketing strategies.

Duck meat has been appreciated for its taste and nutritional qualities by most of the meat-loving population. Today duckling is in high demand in the whole world, especially in Asian countries. The preference of duck meat depends upon the breed of duck and the method of preparation which varies widely depending upon the region and the demand of the consumers. In Northern America, parts of Europe, Australia and in many other areas as well, the roasted duckling is a very popular item. Roast, braised or barbecued duck are few of the popular duck cuisine around the world. More recently duck parts, such as breast and legs have become more available, which offer more options for diet-conscious consumers. Precooked duck parts which can be quickly heated in a microwave are also becoming more available and popular. China is by far the leading country for duck production with an annual production of about 75% of all duck slaughtered and about 66% of all duck meat produced in the world (FAO stat) followed by France.

Meat-type breeds of duck

Muscovy: The Muscovy breed is easily identified by its red knobby nodules along with the eyes and above the base of the bill, it is the leaner variety and the meat is darker. Muscovy is a heavy breed.

Pekin: The Pekin breed is native to China. Pekin ducklings are ready for the market at age two to three months. The white Peking duck, often sold under the name Long Island duckling, are the ones most often available in supermarkets today. This breed is the most demanded for its quality meat, tremendous taste and flavor.

Broiler or fryer: These ducks are young (under 8 weeks) and tender, roaster duckling (under 16 weeks) is starting to harden, and the mature duck has tougher flesh.

Composition of duck meat

Duck muscles are predominantly dark muscles throughout the carcass. The moisture content of duck meat is around 73-76% (Omojola, 2007). The protein content of duck breasts and legs is 20.8 and 19.6%, respectively (Cobos et al., 2000). The ranges of essential amino acid percentages present in duck meats: 6.01-8.08% of phenylalanine and tyrosine, 3.21-6.14% of isoleucine, 7.67-8.45% of leucine, 8.60-9.57% of lysine, 3.11-3.26% of methionine and cysteine, 4.11-5.22% of threonine, 0.70-1.25% of tryptophan and 3.67-7.01% of valine (Woloszyn et al., 2006).

The percentage of fat in duck meat is relatively higher than other common poultry meats. Fat alteration over storage time will affect the physicochemical and sensory properties (Russell et al., 2004) in the form of raw meat or processed products. It contains 5.95% lipid without the skin and 39.34% with skin. Muscle alone contains 50.3% saturated, 33.4% monounsaturated and 16.3% polyunsaturated fatty acids, whereas duck with skin contains 35.7% saturates; 50.5% monounsaturates and 13.7% polyunsaturates, as with chicken and turkey the addition of the skin increases the proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids in the lipid from the duck. The major fatty acids in duck fat are similar to those in chicken and turkey except for the absence of long-chain PUFA’s and a higher proportion of linoleic acid. Duck fat contains 35.7% saturates, 50.5% monounsaturates (high in linoleic acid) and 13.7% polyunsaturated fats (Which contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential oils). The main difference between chicken, turkey, and duck is that duck contains more linoleic acid, which chicken and turkey contain a higher amount of polyunsaturated fats. It appears that duck fat is more like olive oil than it is like butter or beef.

More recently duck parts, such as breast and legs have become more available, which offer more options for diet-conscious consumers

More recently duck parts, such as breast and legs have become more available, which offer more options for diet-conscious consumers

Types of duck meat

Duck meat can be categorized into two types.
Whole duck and the cutting part including breast meat, fillet, bone-in-leg, thigh meat, drum stick, three joint wings, wing stick, middle wing, two joint wing, wingtip and others e.g. tongue, beak, and feet.

Purchasing and Storage Tips of duck meat

  • Fresh duck should be odor-free and have clean skin with no pinfeathers.
  • Frozen duck should have a plump breast and wrapped in an airtight package.
  • The meat should be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator and frozen duck can be stored in the freezer for three months.
  • Duck liver/foie gras is highly perishable and will only keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator once the package has been opened.
    Characteristics feature of duck meat: The dressing percentage of duck is around 65-71% (Omojola, 2007)and it varies with the age and sex of the bird. Some important characters of duck meat are,

Color of Duck Meat:

Duck meat is considered as “white” meat, even though its meat is considerably darker than other poultry meats such as chicken or turkey. The reason for this is that ducks are more active in comparison to chicken, therefore, they need and use up more oxygen. The extra oxygen in the body of the duck or other types of the game bird gives their meat the darker red color due to the higher content of muscle myoglobin.

Aroma of duck meat:

The aroma of duck meat is relatively stronger than other poultry meats. It has been found that the flavor of the meat is positively correlated with lipid content (Chartrin et al., 2006b) and the higher fat content of duck meat may cause a stronger flavor.

pH of duck meat:

The pH range of duck meat is 5.4 to 6.3 (Erisir et al., 2009) in most of the cases. The pH of duck meat, however, is related to its glycogen content. A higher glycogen contents result in lower pH levels.

Among the popular duck meat cuisine, Roasted duck, Roasted magret (breast filets of duck), Pan-fried Duck, Braised Duck, Pan-fried duck liver (Foie gras), Barbecued Grilled Duck, Grilled Duck Kebabs etc. are well known

Among the popular duck meat cuisine, Roasted duck, Roasted magret (breast filets of duck), Pan-fried Duck, Braised Duck, Pan-fried duck liver (Foie gras), Barbecued Grilled Duck, Grilled Duck Kebabs etc. are well known

Processed duck products

Among the popular duck meat cuisine, Roasted duck, Roasted magret (breast filets of duck), Pan-fried Duck, Braised Duck, Pan-fried duck liver (Foie gras), Barbecued Grilled Duck, Grilled Duck Kebabs etc. are well known. Other than those some regional variations are, Peking roasted duck, Nanjing cooked duck, Zhangcha duck (China), Canard á l’Orange (France), Oritang (Korea) and gulai itiak lado mudo (Indonesia). The only traditional applications of duck meat cannot stimulate the rapid growth and popularity development of duck meat applications in this decade. Therefore the export graded duck meat products yet to be developed and fabricated.

Future approaches

Low demand for duck meat positively correlates with the low consumption of duck meat. The low level of consumption of duck meat is governed by many factors in comparison to chicken meat, reflected in low levels of duck meat acceptance and preference by society, the reason behind these constraints are, the unavailability of the meat quality ducks breeds, lower production level, difficulties in the slaughtering, lack of demand for ducks and weakness of market system for selling duck meat products (Oteku et al., 2006). The holistic approach towards the development of healthy, safe and nutritionally enriched duck meat can remove stigma adhere to the duck meat. The efforts to solve these problems focus should be on the researchers and government to popularize the duck meat as a food choice and to undertake necessary policy. A persuasive approach and good policies from the government will hopefully attract society to use duck meat in greater quantities.

References

  1. Chartrin, P., M.D. Bernadet, G. Guy, J. Mourot and J.F. Hocquette, 2006. Does overfeeding enhance genotype effects on energy metabolism and lipid deposition in breast muscle of ducks? Comp. Biochem. Physiol. Part A: Mol. Integrative Physiol., 145: 413-418.
  2. Cobos, A., A. Veiga, and O. Diaz, 2000. Chemical and fatty acid composition of meat and liver of wild ducks (Anas platyhynchos). Food Chem., 68: 77-79.
  3. Erisir, Z., O. Poyraz, E.E. Onbasilar, E. Erdem and G.A. Oksuztepe, 2009. Effects of housing system, swimming pool and slaughter age on duck performance, carcass and meat characteristics. J. Anim. Vet. Adv., 8: 1864-1869.
  4. Interesting new topics of times demand\Duck meat\Health benefits of Duck Fat.htm.
  5. Oteku, I.T., J.O. Igene and I.M. Yessuf, 2006. An assessment of the factors influencing the consumption of duck meat in Southern Nigeria. Pak. J. Nutr., 5: 474-477.
  6. Russell, E.A., P.B. Lynch, K. O. Sullivan and J.P. Kerry, 2004. Dietary supplementation of a-tocopheryl acetate on a-tocopherol levels in duck tissues and its influence on meat storage stability. Int. J. Food Sci. Technol., 39: 331-340.
  7. USDA, 2006. Duck and goose from farm to table. US. United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/Duck_&_Goose_from_Farm _ to_Table/index.asp
  8. Woloszyn, J., J. Ksiazkiewicz, T. Skrabka-Blotnicka, G. Haraf, J. Biernat and T. Kisiel, 2006. Comparison of amino acid and fatty acid composition of duck breast muscles from five flocks. Arch. Tierz. Dummerstorf, 49: 194-204.
  9. Omojola, A.B. 2007. Carcass and organoleptic characteristics of duck meat as Influenced by breed and sex. International Journal of Poultry Science 6 (5): 329-334.