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Raise your hand if you’ve heard the word “plant-based” in the last year. If you’ve spent any amount of time scrolling through social media, I’m willing to bet your hand is dangling in the air right now. The recently-popular verbiage appears to be here to stay – and I, for one, am a fan.
While I’m not vegan or vegetarian (nor do I follow any specific diet), I opt for plant-based food when possible. It’s not that I don’t like meat – in fact, I classify a medium rare beef burger as divine – but I try to eat plant-based alternatives in lieu of animal meat for health reasons. Jack & Annie’s has made that mission a breeze.
What Is Jack & Annie’s?
Well, let’s start with the name, shall we? Jack is based on the brand’s key ingredient: jackfruit. Annie is the woman who started it all after taking a trip to India and discovering a superfood that changed the plant-based industry.
The key ingredient to Jack & Annie’s popular plant-based offerings is jackfruit, a fruit that has a surprisingly similar consistency and texture to meat. As such, Jack & Annie’s has introduced healthier alternatives to delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner foods (think sausage, chicken wings, meatballs, chicken nuggets) that taste really great.
When you eat a Jack & Annie’s meal, you’re actually eating plants – jackfruit grows on trees. It’s high in fiber, a good source of protein, and contains 70% less fat than its meat counterparts. If that isn’t enough, consider the ingredients list: the nutrition label includes none of those hard to pronounce ingredients you’ve never heard of. Enjoy a meal that tastes and feels great.
The Buffet’s Open
After sampling my fair share of Jack & Annie’s, I’m ready to offer my take on some of the brand’s best-selling products:
You can never go wrong with a chicken nugget, which is why I tasted the Crispy Jack Nuggets first. At first glance, they look pretty similar to a standard chicken nugget with the exception of a slight difference in shape.
While I could have microwaved them, I put them in the oven for extra crispiness. After a 12 minute bake at 400 degrees, the nuggets were ready. I let them cool for five minutes and dug in.
Upon first bite, I was impressed. They are juicy, crispy and satisfying. These nuggets are slightly less chewy than traditional chicken, but not by much. If you gave me a taste test, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them and my childhood’s nuggets. I’d give these a 9.5/10 – they’re nearly identical to the nuggets I ate as a child.
I was a bit hesitant to try the buffalo wings because I’m not a major fan of spice, but I like the taste if that makes sense. For me to thoroughly enjoy a buffalo flavor, I need it to be more on the mild side which is exactly what these are.
Unlike traditional chicken wings, these Buffalo Jack Wings don’t have the annoying bone to work around – a major plus. They taste pretty similar to the chicken nuggets, but with an extra kick. However if you’re looking for a super spicy buffalo wing, this is not it. Overall, I would give these a 7.5/10 – not my favorite from the brand, but I’d eat them again.
Spaghetti and meatballs will always and forever be a go-to dish of mine. Normally, I’d opt for turkey meatballs, but since I had these jackfruit ones I decided to put them to the test. Out of all three products that I tried, these were my least favorite.
It’s not that they aren’t good – I just didn’t find them to be very reminiscent of a meatball. They lack the spices and flavors of a traditional Italian meatball. If you’re looking for a meat-like taste to replace a meatball, this is a great option for you; if you want a meatball that’s spiced to perfection like you’re used to, the Classic Jack Meatballs probably aren’t for you. I’d give these a 5/10. We’ll call them average – I wouldn’t go out of my way to get them again, but if I ate them I wouldn’t complain.
Not too sure about whether plant-based is for you? Start with a brand like Jack & Annie’s because the food is actually delicious. I absolutely despise some plant-based brands because their offerings look and taste like dog food, but not this one.
The taste is similar to “real” chicken, meat, etc. It’s not mushy and soft, but there’s some density to it that brings it to life. For plant-based newbies, I’d normally suggest going heavy on the condiments, but that’s not necessary here. There’s no need to disguise the taste with extras because each dish is already delicious as is. Jack & Annie’s is what I’d call a grocery store standout.
Hungry to give the brand a try? Jack & Annie’s is available for purchase at major retailers like Whole Foods, Target, and Wegmans.
Five More Things To Love About Jack & Annie’s:
- Jackfruit is grown on trees and not in a test tube in a lab. With each bite, you’ll taste natural, plant-based goodness.
- The brand has cultivated over 8,000 acres of certified organic land.
- The jackfruit comes straight from farmers who earn 10-40 percent of their income by selling to Jack & Annie’s.
- To transport the jackfruit to North America, a full container load of ocean freight is used to reduce carbon emissions.
- Find nine recipes on the brand’s website from buffalo jack wings salad to savory jack chipotle tacos to make the most out of your food.