Post image for Avoid the Rip-Off | Tyson Chicken Nuggets Only 1/3 Chicken (Review)

Avoid the Rip-Off | Tyson Chicken Nuggets Only 1/3 Chicken (Review)

by Nindo Mom on April 22, 2011

Being a busy person, I’m always looking for ways to save time on the daily tasks of running a household. So even though I try to cook meals from scratch as often as possible, I have gotten to the point where I try to keep a couple of healthy ready-to-eat items on hand, too.

Chicken is one of my family’s favorite meats to have at meals. So when I was looking for a quick chicken entree that I could keep in the freezer–for those nights that I just don’t have time to cook and the leftovers are all eaten up–Tyson’s Chicken Nuggets looked like a great solution. According to the package, these nuggets are “100 percent natural, fully cooked breast nuggets” with “no artificial ingredients.” The package went on to say the nuggets contained no trans fats, no preservatives, and no fillers. All this, in addition to Tyson being one of the most well-known brands, convinced me that their chicken nuggets would be a great choice for my family.

I’m a person who would normally buy organic chicken, given the opportunity. But organic chicken selections are few and far between when it comes to ready-to-eat meals. Organic choices aside, I look for meals or entrees that are relatively low in fat, when possible, and with much higher meat and vegetable content than starch. (I’ve found that MANY ready-to-eat entrees are stuffed full of noodles–the white flour, devoid-of-nutrition kind. This lowers the cost of production for manufacturers, but is detrimental to the nutritional content of the meal, as well.)

With Tyson’s claim that their chicken nuggets are 100 percent breast meat and their claim of minimal processing, I expected the nuggets to be mostly chicken–go figure! But what I discovered was something quite different.

What I Discovered about Tyson Chicken Nuggets

With high expectations, I bought the Tyson chicken nuggets and stuck them in my freezer for about a week until I needed them. But when I finally cooked them up for my family, I was shocked to discover how little chicken was actually in them! Not to mention, the chicken was a peculiar texture–very bread-like, and filled with bubbles and air pockets as though the chicken had been liquefied before being squired into the nugget casing. There was no moisture (juiciness) to the nuggets–and the taste of the nuggets was not very chicken-like, either.

How I Determined the Chicken Content of the Tyson Nuggets

Carefully separating the breaded coating from the chicken mixture inside, I measured each on a food scale. Using this method, I discovered that only 1/3 of the nugget was chicken mixture–the other 2/3 was breading/coating. (I call the chicken a “mixture” because, according to the box, water and natural flavor have been added. And judging by the texture, it’s obvious that a fair amount of something other than chicken has been added.)

More proof: According to the nutritional info on Tyson’s package, 88 grams of nuggets–equivalent to 5 nuggets–is a serving, and contains 12 grams of protein. An ounce (28.3 grams) of cooked chicken breast should contain about 10 grams of protein: this is nearly as much as THREE TIMES the weight of the serving of chicken nuggets. These numbers indicate that Tyson’s chicken nuggets are actually as little as 25 percent chicken, judging by where the calories are coming from.

The Final Call

If you’re expecting to buy an entree with a high protein content, Tyson Chicken Nuggets probably aren’t your best option. Despite the fact that Tyson states that they’re 100 percent all natural, this should not be misconstrued as meaning the nuggets are made of mostly chicken. I personally would not buy these nuggets for my family again.

You can perform this protein test on any food your family commonly eats–just pick up a digital food scale and measure things out for yourself. You may be surprised by what you find.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna Stratton June 2, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Hello! I just purchased a bag of these and found the same thing! Now, I haven’t purchased them in about 9 months. Prior to that I used to buy them regularly and they were great – probably at least 75% chicken and not “processed”. They must have changed their manufacturing. I was SO disappointed this past purchase. I had been buying the Costco breaded chicken patties and will go back. Those are excellent and overall cost is lower as well. (They are in the frozen section in a tube-like plastic bag (like they sell their beef patties).

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Brenda Jenkins July 1, 2011 at 2:32 PM

I have a child who has a whey allergy, and I have been buying them for about 6 mos. and when I first started buying them they were great. The last bag I bought had a different smell and seemed spoiled. I returned them to the store and exchanged them. Same thing. I then bought them from a different store and they still seemed different but, I went ahead and cooked them. It was like they had been puffed up with air! The chicken was grey inside and flat. Yuck!! They must have changed the recipe!

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Nindo Mom July 1, 2011 at 3:04 PM

I, also, have heard that Tyson may have changed their recipe for chicken nuggets. It wouldn’t surprise me, because I see a lot of companies trying to cut corners and save costs to increase their profit margin without having to raise the price of their products. (Although they do that, as well!) Be careful about checking the expiration date on your frozen products before you put them in your cart…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found expired frozen foods shoved in the back of the grocer’s freezer–sometimes BEHIND fresher products. Someone’s carelessness in how they restock the products has surely made a lot of unsuspecting customers sick!

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Cornrow July 26, 2011 at 2:03 PM

You crazy yo. Dem nuggz be all good in my hood. You must be trippin or something yo. My little niglets just lovem. Tastes like chicken to me. It’s a nugg so of course it’s gonna be breaded. You serious? Nuggs are processed yo – iz day nature of the beast.

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a- mom concern July 28, 2011 at 3:17 PM

I AM VERY UPSET AT YOUR C/NUGGETS I THOUGHT TYSON WAS A GOOD BRAND I WAS NOT SATIFIED AFTER COOKING THEM ALL I GOT WAS SOME BREADING AND A LITTLE SPECK OF MEAT AND THE REST WAS AIR . NOT SURE IF IT WAS MEAT TASTE KIND OF DIFFERNT. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO THE NUGGETS ALOT OF US PARENTS USE TYSON NUGGETS. I WILL NOT BE BUYING YOUR BRAND ANY MORE.

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Nindo Mom July 28, 2011 at 9:27 PM

Um…I think maybe this mom meant to leave this note for Tyson, but somehow it ended up on my article…Still, she does make some good points!

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Bonnie Rupert August 31, 2011 at 7:33 PM

I too, wanted something not too fattening and somethig to snack on and I bought them for their name. Boy! Was I surprised. Discusting!! Puffed up with air, hardley no chicken except a very very thin layer of something but it was not chicken!!

I hope Tyson gets the mesage, and besids that they should be banned from selling this or any other product that is fraudlenty represented. I will never again in MY life buy another Tyson product!!

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Christa Hogan September 22, 2011 at 7:22 AM

Try Banquet’s chicken fingers, not the nuggets. They get a B+ on my Fooducate iPhone app and they’re cheaper. They taste good too.

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