The Nutritional Implications of Food Processing on Jerky-style Products

What is Jerky-style food?

Jerky-style food products are prepared by slicing meat, drying it to remove moisture, and then usually smoking it. It can be made from beef, pork, chicken, or any wild game. The process forms a shelf-stable, protein-rich snack food with a chewy texture. Historically, jerky was a popular food among Native American tribes and cowboys.

The Nutritional Implications of Food Processing on Jerky-style Products 2

How is Jerky-style food processed?

The process of making jerky-style snacks involves curing the meat with salt, vinegar or citrus juice before it is smoked or dried. This process preserves the naturally occurring nutritional benefits of the meat, including protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, most jerky-producing companies have modified the traditional methods to make the end product look better and last longer. The conventional method allows for any type of meat vegetable, or fruit to be rendered into jerky form.

What are the nutritional benefits of jerky?

Jerky is a high source of protein, which helps build and repair muscle tissue. It also contains essential vitamins and minerals such as zinc, vitamin B12, and iron. However the nutritional benefits may vary depending on the processing technique. The product may also provide energy, support healthy bone growth and proper organ functioning.

The effects of food processing on the nutritional value of jerky-style products

The processing of jerky-style food products affects the nutritional value of the end product. When preparing jerky-style food products, the heat and chemicals strip out a fraction of vitamins and minerals present in meat. The heat technique also decreases cholesterol content and increases carbohydrates. Salt is also added to preserve, flavour and increase the shelf life of the product; this may result in the intake of excess salt, which could give rise to certain lifestyle diseases. While lesser heat would preserve the natural nutritional value intended in the product, it is treated rather boiling the products, which in a hot atmosphere tends to lose many of its originally intended nutrients.

How to choose the right jerky-style product?

To select the right jerky-style product, it is essential to check the label if it has vitamins, minerals and less salt. A good jerky-style product should have less than 20% daily average value of salt and more than 10% average daily value of vitamins and minerals. Fresh jerky-style products bought from family-run businesses or specialty stores could also provide fresh and healthy options. In such an instance, the salt content would be lower than found in processed foods.


In summary, the nutritional value of jerky-style food products is affected by the processing techniques used. While the immediate effect of processing brings the product to temperature required, it could often result in the loss of nutritional value intended for the consumer. Health-seeking individuals should, therefore, consider reviewing the labelling and quality of the ingredients in jerky-style food products before consuming them. Wish to know more about the topic? nature is our vitamin, we recommend it to complement your reading and expand your knowledge.

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