While visiting Calabasas, California in 2011, I purchased this 3.25 ounce/92 gram original flavored brand of beef jerky at a Ralphs store. This being the large grocery store chain Ralphs, owned by The Kroger Co. They distribute this jerky based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, and have locations throughout Southern California.
This Ralphs brand of jerky is not produced by The Kroger Co. It is made by Marfood USA, or possibly Mirab USA, but I think they are the same company now. This is a very common practice among the large grocery chains, known as using a private labeler. I own many bags of jerky made by Marfood USA, which uses stock recipes for their clients.
Ingredients: Beef, Water, Sugar, Salt, Maltodextrin, Vinegar, Monosodium Glutamate, Black Pepper Powder, Papaya Juice, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Garlic Powder, Sodium Erythorbate, Citric Acid, Natural Smoke Flavor, Disodium Inosinate, Sodium Nitrite.
The beef used is not guaranteed to be free of growth hormones or additional antibiotics. Also, the beef is not guaranteed to have at least partial free range access to graze on grass. As a result, the highest ingredient rating that can be awarded is a Good (8/10) rating.
This is the first review done where sodium tripolyphosphate was used. Manufactured in chemical laboratories, it gives meat and seafood a fresh looking appearance, and helps keep the natural color. Based on research, this is achieved by soaking the meat prior to drying with a solution of water, sodium tripolyphosphate and perhaps other stuff. Note that many state governments classify sodium tripolyphosphate as a mild health hazard, which is widely used in various commercial industries, especially detergents.
The sugar level is on the high side at 6 grams of sugar per 28 grams of jerky. Our preference is 3 grams of sugar or less. The salt level is very high at 520mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky. Our preference is 350mg of salt or less.
Not so good, both sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite are used as preservatives. This jerky does not qualify to be MSG free, as it uses MSG outright. Disodium inosinate is also used, which synergistically makes the MSG that much stronger tasting.
This is an original flavor of jerky, so you generally need to expect something plain and boring tasting. That would be true of this bag of jerky. Nothing overly exciting about the taste. The slices are medium thickness, and medium to small in size.
This is the type of jerky that kids tend to enjoy, being mild flavored. This flavor of jerky is nothing special.
While this bag is well designed, it is fairly dull looking. Nothing really stands out. Everything is imprinted on the plastic bag itself, both on the front and back.
This bag has no official slogans. There are some facts printed on the bag such as “Smoke Flavor Added”, “Made From Solid Strips of Beef”, “High Protein”, and “97% Fat Free”.
Every single bag category is covered. As a bonus, they do offer a quality guarantee, where the jerky would be refunded or replaced.