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Update: Carrageenan Removal From Organic Deli Meat

Last Updated: Oct 30, 2018 08:35AM EDT
What is carrageenan?
Carrageenan is an ingredient derived from red seaweed and is commonly used as a thickener or stabilizing agent in dairy foods such as ice cream and yogurt. Carrageenan is also commonly used as a binder in deli meats to help prevent meat from falling apart when sliced, particularly those made with poultry.
Did you remove carrageenan from your deli meats?
Our ham and roast beef deli varieties have always been carrageenan-free, but we are excited to share that any pre-sliced poultry varieties you see in our new peel & reseal packaging are now carrageenan-free. We love the taste of our new and improved deli varieties and hope you agree. Once you give them a try, click here and let us know what you think!
I purchase Applegate deli meat at the deli counter. Are those also carrageenan-free?
With the exception of two poultry deli counter varieties- Applegate Naturals® Oven Roasted Chicken Breast and Applegate Naturals® Barbeque Chicken- our entire deli counter selection is carrageenan-free. In an effort to progress our mission- Changing The Meat We Eat®- we are currently removing carrageenan from these two varieties and expect to re-launch them as carrageenan-free December 2019.
Here is a full list of our current carrageenan-free offerings (deli counter varieties)          
  • Applegate Naturals® Hand-Tied Maple Ham
  • Applegate Naturals® Black Forest Ham
  • Applegate Naturals® Virginia-Brand Ham
  • Applegate Naturals® Slow Cooked Ham
  • Applegate Naturals® Roast Beef
  • Applegate Naturals ® Herb Turkey Breast
  • Applegate Naturals ® Smoked Turkey Breast
  • Applegate Naturals ® Honey & Maple Turkey Breast
  • Applegate Naturals ® Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
  • Applegate Naturals ® Southwestern Style Turkey Breast
  • Applegate Naturals ® Peppered Turkey Breast
  • Applegate Naturals ® Turkey Pastrami
Here is a full list of our current carrageenan-free offerings (packaged and pre-sliced)
  • Applegate Organics® Oven Roasted Chicken Breast
  • Applegate Organics® Smoked Chicken Breast
  • Applegate Organics® Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
  • Applegate Organics® Oven Herb Turkey Breast
  • Applegate Organics® Smoked Turkey Breast
  • Applegate Naturals® Oven Roasted Chicken Breast
  • Applegate Naturals ® Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
  • Applegate Naturals ® Herb Turkey Breast
  • Applegate Naturals ® Smoked Chicken Breast
  • Applegate Naturals ® Honey & Maple Turkey Breast
  • Applegate Naturals® Smoked Turkey Breast
Can you tell me which Applegate products have carrageenan?
Following is a list of Applegate products containing carrageenan and estimated timing for when carrageenan will be removed as an ingredient. Applegate products outside our poultry deli varieties have always been carrageenan-free, but please feel free to reach out if you are still unsure.
Applegate Naturals® deli meat (deli counter)
Carrageenan-free timing: December 2019
  • Applegate Naturals® Oven Roasted Chicken Breast
  • Applegate Naturals® Barbeque Chicken
*Look for product in our new peel & reseal packaging
How will I know if the product I am purchasing is carrageenan-free?
Here are a few ways to identify which Applegate products are carrageenan-free:
  1. Look at the ingredients list on our products, if you do NOT see carrageenan, then that product is carrageenan-free.
  2. Send us an e-mail ( or message via the “Chat with us” feature on our website.
  3. Check the list in the above question. We’ll be updating that list with any status changes.
Why are you removing carrageenan as an ingredient? Were your poultry deli products safe to eat before the removal?
We’re proud to be a brand that closely listens to consumer feedback and carrageenan is an ingredient Applegate users said they wanted removed. We did our research and found a way to address consumer concerns, without compromising the taste and quality of our products. Even though carrageenan is an ingredient approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USDA) and the National Organic Program, we decided to remove it as an ingredient to give consumers who are unsure whether or not they want to consume, one less thing to think about.
Are you using another ingredient in place of carrageenan?
Yes. We taste-tested several ingredient options to replace carrageenan and found that the majority lived up to our standards of clean ingredients, but didn’t quite meet our standards of crave-able food. However, once we combined potato starch and chicken broth, we found a winner in delivering clean, crave-able food.
Will the removal of carrageenan increase costs?
Not at all. The suggested retail price will remain the same. The suggested retail price for our pre-sliced and packaged Applegate Organics® Deli line is $6.99 and $5.99 for our pre-sliced and packaged Applegate Naturals® Deli line.
With the new changes to your deli meat, will I see a change in nutritionals?
Yes, you can expect to see some nutritional changes with our deli meat products, due to a few factors.  Some of our deli meat recipes (poultry and ham) have changed and we are also using a new methodology to calculate nutritionals. The information on previous nutritional labels measured raw ingredients and didn’t take into account variables like cooking and processing. Although our previous and new testing methods are USDA approved, we decided to move forward with the method of testing that more closely reflects the final product in the package. As a result, you may see decreases or increases in sodium, protein, iron, sugar, fat, or cholesterol, depending on the variety. If you have a question on a specific product, please feel free to send us an e-mail ( or message via the “Chat with us” feature on our website.
Your Slow-Cooked Ham looks different. Aside from the new packaging, did you make changes to this variety?
The most noticeable change you will see with our new Applegate Naturals® and Applegate Organics® Slow-Cooked Ham is that it is no longer rectangular shaped. We are using a slightly different cooking process that results in a more natural shape and texture.

Are your deli meats Whole30 Approved®?
Our Applegate Organics® Roast Beef, Applegate Naturals® Prosciutto, and the majority of our new carrageenan-free poultry deli meats are Whole30 Approved®. You can click here to view a current list of our Whole30 Approved® deli meats.
If you are still unsure about whether a product is Whole30 Approved®, send us an e-mail ( or message via the “Chat with us” feature on our website.
Note: Although we removed carrageenan from our Applegate Naturals® Honey & Maple Turkey Breast and Applegate Naturals® Barbecue Flavored Chicken Breast, these two varieties do not meet the Whole30 Approved® criteria of no added sugar due to ingredients such as honey and maple syrup.
Your deli packaging looks different. Does that mean product standards are different?
Over the next few months we will be rolling out a new packaging design, featuring bolder graphics and brighter colors, for all our product lines. The packaging transition is starting with our Applegate Organics® pre-sliced and packaged deli, which uses less plastic than our previous packaging and will be easier to open. With that said, what’s inside matters most, and we can assure you that the deli meat inside our new packaging is held to the same high standards all Applegate products must meet: made with clean ingredients and sourced from humanely-raised animals that are never given antibiotics. You can read more about our animal welfare standards here.
The Applegate Organics® Deli packaging looks smaller. Are there less servings per package?
Good news- we reduced the amount of plastic used to package our new Applegate Organics® deli line, resulting in smaller packaging dimensions.  In other good news- the serving size (3 servings per container) and net weight (6 oz.) has remained the same.
How do I open your new pre-sliced and packaged deli meats?
Opening our new pre-sliced and packaged deli meats is now easier than ever. 
  1. Locate our “DIG IN AND RESEAL” tab on the front of packaging; centered at the bottom.
  2. Gently lift tab up and away so plastic film peels back.
  3. Remove as many slices of deli meat as you’d like.
  4. Return plastic film to original position, press to reseal, and enjoy remaining slices of deli meat within 3 to 5 days of opening or prior to “use-by” date.
With the new peel and reseal packaging, how will I know that the package I purchase hasn’t already been opened?
Our new peel and reseal packaging has a tamper evident feature on the front label. When you peel the flap up, it tears at the bottom corners of the label showing it has been opened.
What does your parent company, Hormel Foods, think about these changes? Did they try to stop you?
No, actually the opposite. Although Applegate is an independent, stand-alone subsidiary of Hormel Foods, we worked closely with their vast research and development team to find the best solve for removing carrageenan. However, the decision to remove carrageenan as an ingredient was solely Applegate’s.
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