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Kolkata’s appetite for non conventional meat rising fast

Focus on health and boredom with mutton and chicken are increasingly driving people to quail, duck and turkey.

kolkata Updated: Oct 27, 2016 10:01 IST
Joydeep Thakur
Joydeep Thakur
Hindustan Times
Duck meat, earlier restricted to a few Chinese restaurants, is now becoming popular with sale of processed meat rising from ‘Haringhata’ counters. Roast duck was clearly the most popular item in a five-day food fest organised by the state government recently.

Kolkata’s appetite for non-conventional meat - quail, duck and turkey - is fast increasing. While the sale of frozen and processed non-conventional meat has doubled over the past one year, it is expected to treble by March 2017.

Experts attribute this galloping sale to several factors including rising heart and lifestyle diseases that are driving people away from red meat, and increasing boredom with conventional meat such as chicken and mutton.

Read: Partridges found in raid on meat shop selling quail

“Sales are simply galloping ahead. While the sale of frozen and processed meat in 2014-15 was Rs 4.35 lakhs it jumped to Rs 9.58 lakh in 2015-16. This year till September we have already registered a sale of Rs 9.58 lakhs,” said Gouri Shankar Koner, managing director of West Bengal Livestock Development Corporation (WBLDC).

Despite the advantage of low base, and hence a higher growth rate, it is clear that rise has been quite remarkable and it is quite possible that this segment will proliferate in the medium term future.

Read: It seems the chicken was first bred in the Indus Valley

That these types of meat were becoming popular was also evident in Ahare Bangla, the food fest organised by the state government, where roasted duck was awarded the most popular dish and ‘duck ka salan’ clinched the most innovative item.

“If we consider our sales in Ahare Bangla we have already crossed the Rs 10 lakh mark. We hope to treble our sale by the end of this financial year. The period October to March is considered as the peak season for meat products,” Konar said.

The demand of turkey, a bird associated with Christmas, is also rising fast.

Nutritionists and dieticians, too, cast their votes with these types of meat. They said quail meat has extremely low skin fat and cholesterol and, therefore, recommended for people with high cholesterol levels and those who want to maintain low cholesterol.

Quail meat is also rich in micronutrients and contains many vitamins including B complex, E and K. On the other hand, turkey meat contains less fat but has higher protein content in comparison to chicken meat.

Read: Quails, swiftlets out of govt safety cover

WBLDC with its popular brand-name ‘Haringhata Meat’ is now planning to reach out to more people across the state with fresh cuisines and dishes such as quail biriyani, gandharaj turkey and duck roast among others.

While it is already running a few counters from where people can purchase frozen and processed meat products, it is now tying up with food courts in shopping malls in Kolkata and Siliguri.

“We have already tied up with some of the leading hotels and retail chains. Very soon we would be opening food and snacks-counters in all the districts. Talks are also on with at least three food courts in shopping malls at Kolkata and one in Siliguri where Haringhata would open counters,” said Konar.

WBLDC mainly rears quail, turkey and duck in Haringhata in Nadia district. It involves local farmers and processes the meat in its own factory in Haringhata.

“We are ready with an expansion plan in all the districts of the state,” the WBLDC boss.

First Published: Oct 27, 2016 10:01 IST