Looking for Better Chicken Options? Take a Closer Look

Stroll down the frozen food aisle of your local supermarket and you’ll notice that there are virtually dozens of different chicken products available today. From kid-friendly foods such as chicken nuggets to sweet and spicy Mediterranean dinners, chicken has always been, and will continue to be, a “center of the plate” item for generations the world over. 

Why? First of all, it’s so versatile and plentiful. But did you know that chicken, as we know it, can be processed in different ways even before making its way into your favorite prepared food?


Formed Chicken – the Fun Factor Trumps Nutrition 

It’s true, kids love chicken nuggets. Their fun shapes have eye appeal, making for a fast, easy lunch with virtually no fuss. It’s an American staple. These various shapes, and even the ol’ standard oval nugget, are made through the use of special flake-and-form machinery. Various types of chicken meat are finely ground and pressed or mixed with emulsifiers and bonding ingredients (corn starch, extracted proteins, etc.) to stay together when formed  hence the  dinosaur nugget. Fun, easy and fast? Yes. But from a nutritional perspective, not your best bet. 

Injected Chicken – Plump up the Volume 

There are other prepared foods which contain processed chicken as well. Some chicken pies and meals, usually of the cheaper variety, are privy to chunked or cubed chicken meat which has been highly processed and/or injected with a solution. This ‘solution’ can be anything from salt orsugar to preservatives and binding agents to ‘plump up’ the product and add flavor. In every case, you are paying for more solution (can be 10% weight or more) and less chicken.

Tip: If you ever taste salty chicken meat, even in your chicken and turkey deli meats, ask if the product is a ‘whole-cut’, which is exactly as it sounds. Otherwise, you may be getting a lesser quality, formed or injected product.

Willow Tree’s Commitment to Freshness

True to its all-American history dating back to the 1950’s, Willow Tree takes a wholesome approach to preparing high-quality poultry products. Our chicken and turkey pie crusts contain zero trans fats, and we use some of the finest poultry the east coast has to offer – which you’ll see in large pieces throughout our pies. Our goal is to make each aspect of our product taste like you spent hours in your kitchen preparing it from scratch: the flaky crust, the tender chicken, and the savory gravy too. According to one mom blogger who recently reviewed our pies, “Willow Tree Farm Chicken Pies are the closest I have found to replicate the time and care my Grandma used to put into her homemade chicken pies!”