Thursday, January 30, 2014

Well Food Company - Natural Beef Jerky Barbecue

well food company
Well Food Company is a brand of sports snacks that originally launched in 2009 as Paleo Brands Inc. It was started by John Welbourn, former offensive tackle with the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, as well as his friend Joe Cappucio, founder of Del Mar Seafoods.

By 2013 the company had shed its "Paleo" name to become Well Food Company to encompass non-paleo snacks. Their offerings include packages of beef jerky, beef steak sticks, beef bars, and mixtures of jerky with fruit and nuts. They also offer whey protein bars and chocolates. Their jerky is marketed to athletes, health food, and paleo diet consumers.

This Natural Beef Jerky is labeled as "Barbecue", as well as "soy free" and "gluten free", using grass-fed beef raised without added hormones or antibiotics. It has no MSG and no preservatives and is said to meet Paleo requirements.

Ingredients

Beef, sugar, water, organic ketchup, apple cider vinegar, salt, natural smoke flavoring, natural flavorings, paprika, cayenne pepper.

Taste

The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light sweetness and a little of the smoke flavoring. There's hints of the ketchup and touches of the paprika & cayenne pepper.

The chewing brings in a bit more sweetness, some saltiness, a little more of the ketchup. There's maybe a faint bit of natural meat flavor.

For being marketed as "Barbecue", it doesn't really taste anything like barbecue. I do get a light bit of the ketchup, but it's very light. I can also pick up a touch of the paprika and cayenne pepper, but again also very light. It is however, quite sweet. Otherwise, it doesn't really give me the sense of eating something with a barbecue flavor.

Otherwise, the flavor that seems to define this jerky is largely the sweetness. There's a little bit of the smoke flavoring that comes through and some saltiness. Again, some light touches of ketchup and faint bits of paprika and cayenne round the remaining flavors.

Considering this jerky is soy free, gluten free, grass-fed beef, no hormones, no antibiotics, no MSG, and no preservatives. it doesn't really offer any natural meat flavor. If anything, the smoke flavoring and the light ketchup tends to fool the brain into thinking you're eating barbecued beef, but it's not really the natural taste of beef that I'm getting.

As for the cayenne pepper, this jerky does give off a light bit of spiciness, but not enough to really consider as "heat". It's still somewhat mild for my taste, though someone with little tolerance for spicy foods could find this somewhat hot.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced into small to medium sized slabs and sliced medium thickness.

This is a semi-moist jerky with a semi-moist surface feel. The slabs have a lot of flexibility. They're easy to bite off chunks and easy to chew.

The chewing texture starts off feeling tender and soft, offering little to no chewing resistance. They tend to have a mushy feel in the chewing, somewhat meat like but more like ground beef cooked medium. By the time it's chewed down to a soft mass, it generally feels like mushy meat.

I see some streaks of fat and gristle in a couple of the slabs. I can also feel some chewy tissues, though nothing completely unchewable. I find no stringiness.

As for clean eating, it's fairly clean. I get a faint coating of sticky residue on my fingers, but not enough to lick and wipe before touching the keyboard.

natural beef jerky

natural beef jerky

Snack Value

Well Food Company markets this jerky in 2oz packages. They sell them online at a price of $38.74 for 6 packages. Shipping works out to $5.99 when shipped to Southern California. That comes to a total of $44.73, which works out to $3.73 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $3.73 per ounce price, it's a poor value. Compared to major brands of jerky sold in stores, this has less flavor, and a similar meat consistency and chewing texture, while priced far higher.

But as a sport snack, being gluten-free, soy-free, hormone free, antibiotic free, grass fed, no MSG, and no preservatives, it's a little better at a fair value. It's hard to find jerky with all those benefits, though I have encountered some in the past and were priced considerably lower with better flavor. But you're not always going to find such meat snacks readily available.

Rating

well food company nutrition
I'm going to give this a fair rating.

This Barbecue flavored Natural Beef Jerky from Well Food Company doesn't really offer any kind of a good flavor in comparison to the hundreds of other jerky brands I've reviewed, and chewing texture tends to be on the mushy side. But then again, most "sport snack jerky" brands don't offer great flavor and great chewing either.

But where this does win big is with meeting the needs of athletes, fitness, and health consumers. It's gluten-free, soy-free, MSG free, preservative free, grass-fed beef, no added hormones or antibiotics, and made with all natural ingredients. It's hard to find a meat snack that has all those characteristics.

It doesn't actually represent its advertised "Barbecue" flavor well. In fact, it doesn't taste anything like barbecue. If anything it has a noticeable sweetness and a liquid smoke flavor, but aside from that there's nothing else. Since we rate jerky on flavor and meat consistency, this one from Well Food Company seems to miss the mark. But it's real value lies in its health benefits, though at a higher price.

Rating: Fair

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