Jerky sales beefing up

Consumer Reports checks out beef-to-go products

Beef jerky and Slim Jim used to be found primarily at truck stops and convenience stores. Now, they're reaching new audiences fueled by big ad campaigns.

So Consumer Reports checked out several beef-to-go products to see if they're worth buying.

Advertising for the beefy treats is increasing, and so are sales. 

Sales are up by 13 percent over last year.  

The snacks are more widely available at drug stores and grocery stores, even Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

"Meat sticks have more fat, more calories and more saturated fat than beef jerky," said Consumer Reports' Adam Kaplan. "Beef jerky is made from lean cuts of meat, and they're cooked over low heat for a long period of time. So the end product comes out really very low in fat."

All the beef products are loaded with sodium. 7 Select Original has the most at 600 milligrams per serving. 

If you at an entire bag, you'd eat 1,800 milligrams of sodium, more than the American Heart Association recommends for an entire day.

As for taste, three beef jerkies rated best: Oh Boy! Oberto Original, Pacific Gold Original and Market Pantry Original from Target.

"It might be good once in a while, but it's not something you want to have regularly," Kaplan said.

The jerkies from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have less sodium than others, but in Consumer Reports' tests, they were not the best-tasting.


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