"Soup in a Bag"

I have it from an insider in the chicken industry that this harmless looking chicken breast that you would innocently point to at the deli counter and order a half pound or so of is called "soup in a bag".

"Soup in a bag" refers to the process of taking scraps of real chicken breast, emulsifying them with gelatin and salt water into a chicken flavored slurry. It is then pumped into a bag (the same bag you see in your deli case) and solidifies into a sphere. The industry term for this is "chopped and formed".

Now you can see why this is $2 cheaper then the real stuff.

Tips to not be deceived:

1. If you're at the deli counter, avoid the chicken/turkey that is shaped perfectly round or oval, like the above photo (emphasis on the formed part of "chopped and formed"). It will look exactly like the next one they bring out from the back.

2. Look for deli chicken/turkey that looks like a natural chicken or turkey would look: imperfect in shape, because, alas, it IS a real chicken or turkey! Just observe all the shapes of turkey, say, in front of you to choose. At my grocery store, the real stuff has "turkey off the bone" as its title. It doesn't get much more unprocessed then that!

See above: a real turkey shape.