While they started in the 50s, the Trader Joe’s brand name was created in 1967, and is based out of Monrovia, California. Trader Joe’s tries to package innovative, hard-to-find foods, under the “Trader Joe’s” name. The folks at Trader Joe’s declined to disclose which private labeler made this jerky, where we can respect that decision to remain private. That technically makes this jerky is a stock recipe.
By all accounts, this is very high quality turkey meat. The turkeys were raised ethically with no growth hormones, which is US federal law anyway for turkeys. The turkeys also had free range access, the way nature intended.
As for questionable ingredients, the vague term flavorings is used. That could contain almost any ingredient, both bad and good. It is disappointing to see caramel color added, normally used to make foods browner in color. Caramel color is not believed to be healthy.
The sugar level is 5 grams of sugar per 28 grams of jerky. That is somewhat on the high side, where 3 grams of sugar or less is preferred. The salt level is respectable at 270mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky.
This jerky does qualify to have no sodium nitrite added, or any other similar unhealthy preservatives. Instead, salt is the main preservative. To a lesser degree, apple cider vinegar also acts as a preservative. Admirably, there is no MSG added.
They are mostly small sized pieces, with the odd medium sized piece. The jerky strips thickness are medium. This texture is just a little bit dry, which makes for fairly easy chewing. There is no fat to be seen anywhere, and no residue is left on your fingers after handling this jerky.
This jerky has a mild taste, generally the way an original flavor should be. As you chew more, the sweetness really stands out. Apart from the sugar taste, we do not really specifically detect any other particular flavors, other than the turkey itself, which has a nice taste.
While this jerky is advertised as being smoked, we struggled to detect any smoke flavor. The soy flavor is mild at best. Overall, the sugary, sweet taste just seems to dominate here.
I paid $6.99 for this 4 ounce/113 gram bag. That works out to $1.74 an ounce, which translates to an average price. Considering the high quality turkey meat used here, this is decent value for your money, if you can get past the sugary taste.
This is a rather tall plastic bag, more than big enough to fit 4 ounces/113 grams. Overall, a very professional bag design. The bag shows a fence on the top and bottom, where the bottom shows a turkey beside the fence. It gives you the impression that this jerky came straight from a small farm.
There are slogans such as “No Preservatives”, “No Nitrites” and “No Added MSG”. On the bag, this turkey jerky is described as “Natural*”, with an asterisk at the end. Items for the asterisk are “No Artificial Ingredients” and “Minimally Processed”. Lastly, the bag mentions “Turkey Raised Without Added Hormones”.