Moi was contacted by a representative for Johnsonville Naturals Sausage to provide a review of a new product entering the Seattle market. The reasons moi agreed to write the review are moi has used Johnsonville products for years and was familiar with the company as well as she was curious about the product. This is a compensated review. Here is a bit about moi’s lifestyle which makes this review relevant to many folk. She is a busy blogger and researcher and often has little time to cook gourmet meals. Often it is look in the fridge and throw together a meal from what is on hand. Given that meals have to be quick, moi attempts to have balanced meals from the various food groups.
Over the years, moi has used the following Johnsonville products:
Butcher Shop Style Smoked Bratwurst
Johnsonville Butcher Shop Style Smoked Bratwurst will transport you to a time when hearty flavor and generous portions were the hallmarks of quality craftsmanship. This sausage is made with premium all natural pork and a natural casing that delivers a “snap” that any butcher would be proud of!
Butcher Shop Style Cheddar Cheese & Bacon
Take flavor to the next level with Johnsonville Butcher Shop Style Cheddar Cheese & Bacon Sausage! This big link blends a perfect flavor pairing of creamy cheddar cheese chunks with delicious smoky bacon… mmm!
Butcher Shop Style Andouille
This Butcher Shop Style Andouille Sausage is packed with authentic Cajun taste and only premium all natural pork. Let this BIG link transport you right to the heart of the BIG EASY with its BIG flavor and natural casing “snap!”
According to the package ingredients, there are ingredients like “potassium lactate, corn syrup, dextrose, monosodium, glutamate, sodium phosphate, sodium diacete, maltodextrin and collagen casing.” Until moi wrote this review, she never noticed the ingredients. The reasons the products were purchased by moi in the past were the Johnsonville name, product taste and the fact that Safeway has frequent specials and moi stocks up.
Like many folk, moi has become concerned about processed meat. Atli Arnarson wrote in the Business Insider article, Why processed meat is bad for you:
Processed meat is generally considered unhealthy.
It has been linked with diseases like cancer and heart disease in numerous studies….
There is no doubt that processed meat contains many harmful chemicals that are not naturally present in fresh meat….
What is Processed Meat?
Processed meat is meat that has been preserved by curing, salting, smoking, drying or canning.
Food products categorized as processed meat include:
- Sausages, hot dogs, salami.
- Bacon, ham.
- Salted and cured meat, corned beef.
- Smoked meat.
- Dried meat, beef jerky.
- Canned meat.
On the other hand, meat that has been frozen or undergone mechanical processing like cutting and slicing is still considered unprocessed….
Nevertheless, studies consistently find strong links between processed meat consumption and various chronic diseases.
These include: High blood pressure, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and bowel and stomach cancer.
The studies on processed meat consumption in humans are all observational in nature.
They can show that people who eat processed meat are more likely to get these diseases, but they can not prove that the processed meat caused them…. http://www.businessinsider.com/why-processed-meat-is-bad-for-you-2015-7
When given the opportunity to preview a product which purported to be more natural, moi jumped at the chance.
The Johnsonville Naturals Line has four products:
A delicious brat recipe made with 100% all natural ingredients. Sure to be a favorite at picnics, barbecues or any occasion.
Mild Italian Sausage
Made with all natural ingredients and the perfect blend of Italian herbs and spices for an authentic flavor in any recipe or on the grill.
Original Breakfast Sausage
Our one-of-a-kind original breakfast sausage recipe made with 100% all natural ingredients that will bring family and friends to the table.
Maple Breakfast Sausage
Made with real Vermont maple syrup and other all natural ingredients for a sweet and savory breakfast taste.
According to the label of the Original Bratwurst, the ingredients are “Pork, water and less than 2% of the following: salt, butter flavor (maltodextrin, anhydrous milk fat, mpmfat milk solids, natural flavors, sugar, natural flavors, contains milk.” The Mild Italian Sausage ingredients are “Pork, water and less than 2% of the following: salt, natural sugar, spice, paprika, natural flavors.”
Two products were tested by moi in breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recipes. For breakfast, moi used the Original Bratwurst in a scramble. She sliced the bratwurst into thin slices, browned them and added to an egg scramble of mushrooms, red, orange and yellow peppers, with onion. This scramble was topped with shredded cheddar cheese and paired with hash browns. A splash of hot sauce was the final touch. The difference between the original brats and the naturals was the seasoning. The subtle, but noticeable seasoning of the naturals made the scramble more flavorful. For lunch, the brats were used again. Again they were sliced and browned. Moi took some green onions and the brats and added them to a can of loaded potato soup which was microwaved. The soup was paired with a small salad and Ciabatta roll. The dinner test involved moi’s favorite pasta dish. Take spinach or kale and add peppers, mushrooms, onions, and olives along with the browned sliced Italian sausage and mix with either fettucine or linguini topped with shredded cheese. The taste of the Italian sausage was a noticeable, but not an overpowering, seasoned taste which complemented the vegetables. When sliced and broiled, the Italian sausage also makes a good snack. Place a broiled Italian Naturals slice on a French bread round, topped with a quarter sized cheese slice and melt under the broiler. An olive slice makes the perfect garnish and glass of wine the perfect complement. All of the recipes used by moi involve no formal culinary training, used food probably in most fridges, and took no longer than 15 minutes.
The Johnsonville Naturals line is at a higher price point than the original line and the key question for the consumer is whether the higher price is worth switching to the Naturals Sausage. Most consumers will probably decide on whether they will become regular consumers based upon price because the product taste and quality is superior. Moi is guessing most consumers don’t read the product labels. They will either eat processed meat or they won’t eat processed meat based upon concerns other than product label. The reason moi will be making the switch is a simpler ingredient list, a more flavorful product and the price differential is not that great. Since moi is not a dietitian she cannot comment about what the natural claim means. She is like most consumers and when she does read the labels, she noticed the Naturals label was simpler. The product test convinced moi to spend the extra money on the Naturals line because of taste and convenience.
Dr. Wilda gives the Johnsonville Naturals line definite thumbs up.
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