“ Brand: Lakeland / Type: Meat „
I noticed that each breast is 92% chicken and the rest is salt and water which suggests to me that they would be dangerously high in salt as the company have hidden the salt quantity.
Having just written a ranting review on a bread product sold by Tesco that contains an ingredient derived from pig-hair, I feel slightly uncomfortable in following that up with a review on worryingly cheap chicken meat.
These Lakeland chicken breast fillets are currently on sale in Tesco in the frozen food section for £2.99 for a 600g bag of 5-6. This is extremely, worryingly, cheap, for chicken breast bits. The only possible consolation here is that the product is notionally being sold as a half-price offer; the usual cost being £6 a packet. I don't usually buy products like this (honest!) so I can't comment on whether this notional £6 per packet is real or a fantasy of a price-bracket. I certainly had some concerns about the provenance of the chicken (which for convenience, and price's sake I'm sad to say I have ignored - several times, as I have bought several bags of the special offer stuff) - as it's all battery-produced, low-welfare-standard stuff, of course. It's obviously not a 'high end' product: the fillets in the bags are all different sizes, some of them are whopping great things more than twice the size of the others - which explains why in some bags you get 5 and in others 6, as they are sold by weight.
They do taste like cheap chicken (of course) but the taste is all right. I defrosted mine before cooking them (I don't know if this is the recommended preparation method for Lakeland chicken breast fillets or not; we just don't have a freezer so they thaw out in the fridge) and the texture in the bag once they've thawed is extremely slimy - you have to reach into a bag containing a fair amount of pink-tinged slime in the bottom to get the fillets out, which is slightly disconcerting. The polythene bag they're sold in is, however, quite a heavy-duty one, which is a very good thing, as it meanst the bag doesn't have a tendency to rip and leak slimy stuff all over everything. Once cooked the texture of the product is exactly like the texture of that slightly wierd, very distinctive chicken you get when you buy pre-cooked dishes from a Chinese or Indian takeaway. The fillets shrink quite a bit when they are cooked.
Is it hydrolysed protein from animals other than chickens that's generating that distinctive texture - and all that slime? One of the more recent food scandals in this country involves cheap chicken meat imported from the Continent (mostly Germany and...somewhere else, I forget) which was being adulterated with protein derived from bovine / porcine sources, in order to bulk up the weight of the chicken, as as well improving as its keeping qualities. Most of this adulterated meat was being sold to the takeaway restaurant trade. In addition to the religious concerns this generates - of course large sections of the British population are averse to eating pig and cow products, on religious grounds - there is also the public health issue - in that the cow protein used in this apparently un-regulated process could be being derived from BSE-infected sources.
According to the Lakeland Chicken Breast fillets packets, all they've got added to them is water and salt - which certainly explains why they need little or no additional seasoning during cooking, as I find them salty as heck. I notice however that nobody else seems to be buying them from the local Tesco here - the £2.99 offer was supposed to end 10 days ago and there are still loads left on sale. Can it be that other people know something about these cheap chicken fillets that I don't?