A novel sticker sensor has been fabricated based on methyl red, and tests have been conducted to detect the freshness of broiler chicken cuts. Methyl red was immobilized onto a bacterial cellulose membrane via absorption method. The methyl red/cellulose membrane as a freshness sensor worked based on pH increase as the basic spoilage volatile amines produced gradually in the package headspace, and subsequently, the colour of the sensor will change from red to yellow for spoilage indication, which is easily visible to the naked eye. The results show that the sticker sensor could be used to determine the degree of chicken cut freshness, as the relationship between the colour change of methyl red as a sensor response and the chicken cut freshness follows a similar trend. Therefore, the spoilage of the chicken cut could be detected visually. A sticker sensor indicates the chicken cut freshness by its colour change in real time. Thus, the sticker sensor can be used as an effective tool for monitoring the microbial quality of packaged fresh poultry meat. Finally, the methyl red/cellulose membrane was successfully used as a sticker sensor for the real-time monitoring of chicken cut freshness in ambient and chiller conditions. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.