Consumers won’t find sugar in unprocessed whole muscle meat and poultry; however, simple carbohydrates often get included with marinades, rubs and sauces. With consumers hearing from groups such as the World Health Organization, the US Food and Drug Administration and the American Heart Association to reduce consumption of added sugars, they are paying more attention to the sugar content of foods, as excessive sugar intake is associated with illnesses ranging from tooth decay to obesity to type 2 diabetes.
With many prepared meats and poultry, it is possible to reduce or eliminate added sugars using flavors that provide sweetness. Fruit powders and juices serve as natural sources of sweetness. With marinades and sauces, non-nutritive sweeteners, such as stevia, monk fruit and some sugar alcohols, can be used to partially or fully replace added sugars. And, with heat-and-eat foods, an easy way to reduce added sugars is to simply use less. Many meals contain an abundance of sauce, as it’s an economical way to increase package weights.
Recently, Applegate, Bridgewater, New Jersey, rolled out Applegate Naturals No Sugar Bacon. Many bacons include a nominal amount of sugar in their brine or flavoring system, without amounting to enough per serving to be declared on the Nutrition Facts. Still, some sugar-conscious consumers don’t want to even see sugar listed as an ingredient. That’s the targeted shopper for this product.
“With a growing demand for sugar-free options, we’re excited to deliver a bacon that supports the needs of those looking to reduce their sugar intake, while upholding Applegate values of making products with humanely raised meats and simple ingredients,” says Nicole Glenn, vice-president of marketing. “Providing worry-free meats people want to eat is vital to us and this new bacon is a product we’re proud to offer.”
With half of its products falling under the sugar-free category, Applegate offers a robust selection of meats and cheeses that fulfills the criteria of sugar-free, in addition to the brand’s standards of no antibiotics ever, no artificial ingredients and no chemical nitrites or nitrates.
Bellisio Foods, Minneapolis, is introducing So Right, a line of single-serve frozen meals featuring fresh-tasting, quality ingredients, like 100 percent natural white meat chicken (minimally processed with no artificial ingredients), roasted vegetables, whole grains and brown rice. In addition, all the meals are free of trans fatty acids, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors and flavors. Each preservative-free meal contains 11 grams or more of protein, 10 grams or less of fat and 300 or fewer calories. Through careful selection of ingredients, each single-serve meal contains less than 14 grams of sugar, with most containing 4 to 5 grams. This is much lower than similar meals by mainstream brands.
So Right comes in 12 globally inspired flavor combinations. They are: Caribbean Chicken, Chicken Burrito Bowl, Chicken Lo Mein, Chicken with Jamaican Style Jerk Sauce, Chorizo & Potatoes with Cheesy Chipotle Sauce, Chorizo with Pasta & Fired Roasted Tomato, Creamy Chicken Corn Casserole, Lemongrass Chicken with Green Curry Sauce, Sriracha Chicken Mac & Cheese, Szechuan Style Kung Pao Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry and Teriyaki Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes.
“Our goal with So Right was to create an affordable meal made with real ingredients and full flavor,” says Rhonda Ihrke, senior marketing director. “We believe the product name really speaks for itself. These meals are ‘so right’ for so many reasons.”
This includes their low sugar content.