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Chill Out with The Air-Chilled Difference

Chill Out with The Air-Chilled Difference

Standing in the fresh chicken aisle of your favorite retailer is a little like looking across a vast sea, and you can’t see the other side. With choppy waters of endless label claims coming from every direction, you bob, weave, and just hope to come up for air with a package in-hand. Victory! It shouldn’t be that hard, should it? But it all too often is. With an industry clamoring for consumers’ attention by telling them more about their chicken products, choices have become even more complicated and less clear.

While there are admittedly a few less meaningful package claims for chicken (example: “cage free.” A little-known truth is that all chickens raised for meat are raised in a cage free environment), others really do make a big difference. One of those differences being “100% Air-Chilled,” which is the processing method we use at Pure Prairie Poultry in our state-of-the-art processing facility, to quickly cool chicken. In fact, this process happens over a whopping two-mile-long journey on a serpentine track in a specially dedicated room, just for this process. It’s little wonder we’re excited and passionate about both the process and premium result for our customers and consumers.

Not sure what Air-Chilled means? Chill out! It’s a simple but important difference.

Water- Vs. Air-Chilled 101

For food safety reasons, once initial harvesting steps take place, whole chicken meat must be quickly cooled to a chilly 40-degrees Fahrenheit to provide safe, wholesome, delicious products for consumers. To do this, providers use one of two methods: water-chilled, in which chicken is quickly cooled in a chlorinated water bath; or Air-Chilled, which uses frigid, circulating, purified air. While both methods achieve lowered core temperature for the chicken meat, nuances make a big difference for both retailer and home chef experiences.

The Differences


Paying Chicken Prices for Water: First things first. Because raw chicken naturally absorbs water when water-chilled, excess water ends up in trays consumers buy. With chicken priced by the pound, consumers unknowingly pay “chicken prices” for that excess water. It might not seem like a lot for one package, but with the average American consuming more than 90 pounds of chicken each year, imagine the extra cost over a lifetime of buying and eating chicken. Wow.

that pinkish water in the tray (yuk!). It’s not fun to touch chicken in the first place, and excess water often leads to a slimy feel when it comes out of the package.

Cooking & Eating

Moist: More forgiving for the home chef, 100% Air-Chilled chicken products provide the best possible cooking experience, because there’s no excess moisture to contend with. The air-chilling process seals skin and tightly locks-in flavor and natural juices. This results in moist, tender, flavorful chicken when cooked. And crispier, golden skin when roasted, grilled, and seared on the stovetop.

Feeling Chilled-Out About Your Chicken?

You should be, now that you know the difference—and value—that Air-Chilled chicken brings to your buying, cooking, and eating experiences. No choppy waters. No weaving and bobbing.

Better yet, Pure Prairie Poultry 100% Air-Chilled Premium Chicken does all the heavy paddling for mealtimes, without all the water. Naturally. So, there’s no life preserver required.