The first review for Family Gourmet will focus on a 3 ounce/85 gram bag of their peppered beef jerky. The bag was purchased at a Family Dollar store in Lewiston, New York.
This Family Gourmet brand of jerky is distributed by Family Dollar Services Inc. They are located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and have been in business since 1959. Family Dollar stores are located all over the United States with over 13,000 stores, and combined for over $20B in annual sales. This jerky is manufactured by a private labeler. While we have a good idea on which private labeler is used here, but we are not 100% sure, so the jerky manufacturer will remain private out of respect. As expected, this Family Gourmet brand of jerky sells for an incredibly cheap price.
Ingredients: Beef, Water, Sugar, Less Than 2% Of Salt, Spices, Dried Soy Sauce (Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Flavoring, Maltodextrin, Monosodium Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Sodium Erythorbate, Paprika, Sodium Nitrite. Allergen Warnings: Soy, Wheat
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.
The liquid marinade consists of just plain old water, where the soy sauce is in powdered form here.
The only healthy ingredient stated is a small amount of paprika, whose purpose is probably more as a red food coloring agent. The annoying vague term flavoring is used, which could include healthy and/or unhealthy ingredients.
The sugar level is on the high side at 5 grams of sugar per 28 grams of jerky to lose a rating. Our preference is 3 grams of sugar or less per 28 grams of jerky. The salt level is also on the high side at 480mg of salt per 28 grams of jerky to lose two ratings. Our preference is 350mg of salt or less per 28 grams of jerky.
It is disappointing to see that unhealthy sodium nitrite and sodium erythorbate are used as preservatives to lose a rating.
This jerky does not qualify to be MSG free because monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used outright here to lose a rating. Another rating is deducted because the highly processed cheap flavor enhancer hydrolyzed corn protein is used.
Very Bad (2/10) – Ingredient Rating
These strips of jerky are mainly small in size, and sliced to a medium thickness. The texture is dry and requires some effort to chew without going overboard. One whiff of opening up this bag, and it is immediately apparent that this is a black pepper flavor. The jerky strips have a red hue from the preservative sodium nitrite.
Some flavors that jump out at first are a mild level of saltiness, a faint level of garlic, and a solid level of black pepper. For a peppered flavor as we have here, the black pepper does not disappoint and tastes wonderful. Also persistent is a mild level of soy.
The sweetness is at a mild level, and there is a good amount of natural beef flavor present.
This peppered flavor is a surprisingly tasty treat considering this is a dirt cheap dollar store type of jerky. Technically, we can find no fault with this peppered flavor. It is quite remarkable on how vastly improved dollar store type of jerky has progressed in the last 10 years, which used to be the worst imaginable jerky around back in 2008.
As remarked by Paul, “The first flavours I detect are salt, pepper, garlic, onion and a terrific natural beef flavour. What’s somewhat alarming is the red hue of the jerky. I hope it’s not processed. It tastes too good to be processed. I am also detecting a kick, it is not intense, but it is tasty. I believe I’m tasting soy as well, it is a very scrumptious flavour of jerky. I am quite inclined to give it a 10/10, it is a very pleasant eating experience.”
Stéphane came to the same conclusion, “The flavor is fantastic and I absolutely love the bold black pepper flavor with the slight sweetness. There is also some good beef flavor and the saltiness is on par. The flavors are bold, well balanced and this flavor profile is bang on.”
This 3 ounce/85 gram bag of jerky cost $3.50. That equates to $1.17 an ounce, which rates as a bargain basement cheap price in 2018.
Excellent (10/10) – Taste Rating
Everything is imprinted directly on the plastic bag itself, both on the front and back. There are no labels affixed to this bag.
There are no slogans printed on this bag. Some facts printed on this bag are “97% Fat Free”, “14g Protein”, “6g Total Carbs”, “80 Calories”, “0.5g Sat Fat”, “480mg Sodium”, “5g Sugars”, and “Resealable”.
The only bag category missing is a blurb printed about Family Gourmet and this peppered flavor. Admirably, a 100% satisfaction guaranteed policy is offered.
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