Processed meat or deli meat has become quite famous because who doesn’t like quick, tasty sandwiches, right? If you are a fan of deli meat, we are sure you may have run into confusion regarding the differences between Boar’s Head vs. Dietz & Watson.
These two brands have always stood proudly above the rest, praised for their high-quality deli meats and an assortment of superior condiments and cheeses.
We’ll be taking you through all of the differences between these two famous brands supplying some of the most popular and highest caliber deli meats around.
Boar’s Head Vs. Dietz & Watson Comparison
|Boar’s Head||Dietz & Watson|
|Origin||1905, New York – Frank Brunckhorst||1939, Philadelphia – Gottlieb Dietz|
|Product Range||500+ Products – Turkey, Ham, Beef, Chicken, Bologna, Wursts, Loaves, Cheese, Hummus, Dips, Spreads, Bacon, Franks Sausages, Chicken Sausages, Condiments & Pre-Sliced Meat||700+ Products – Turkey, Chicken, Beef, Ham & Pork, Franks & Sausages, Italian Specialty Meats | Cheese – Cheddar, American, Swiss, Provolone, Muenster, Jack, Panino, Other Imported Cheeses | Pickles, Mayo, Mustard, Aioli, General Sauces|
|Product Highlights||Meat Free From Gluten, Milk, Cheese, Dressings, Sugar, Artificial Flavors, Artificial Colors & MSG, Zero Fillers, Zero By-Products, No Trans-Fat, Outstandingly High Quality Meats & Cheese||Meat Free From Nitrates, Nitrites & Antibiotics, Cheese Without rBGH, Hand Spiced Meat, Zero Artificial Ingredients, Zero Fillers, Zero Extenders, Zero MSG|
|Expansion||Rapid Expansion Policy Constantly Growing Product Range||Broad Product Range In Place, Steady Expansion Ongoing|
|Company Insights||$500 Million Revenue With $1B Estimated||$350-500 Million Estimated Annual Revenue|
|Affordability||High Premium In Accordance With Industry Averages For Gourmet Deli Foods||Competitively Low Priced High End Deli Items, Affordable Gourmet Meats, Cheese, Snacks & Sauces|
|Availability||US Only, Walmart Stores Nationwide||US & Puerto Rico – Target Stores Nationwide|
Boar’s Head Vs. Dietz & Watson
Both Boar’s Head and Dietz & Watson are excellent outlets offering a diverse range of foods. Here’s a breakdown of each fine brand, including a brief history, what to expect in terms of product range, and more.
Over the course of time, Boar’s Head has become the ultimate place for people to buy deli meat. This reputation has been well-established because of many factors. Let’s take a closer look at what makes them such a trusted supplier.
Boar’s Head was founded in 1905 in New York by Frank Brunckhorst. For five generations, the business has been family-owned. Today, their products are supplied nationally throughout America, with headquarters operating from Sarasota, Florida.
Boar’s Head carries a massive selection of deli foods. Expect to find many varieties of turkey, ham, beef, chicken, bologna, wursts, loaves, cheese, hummus, dips, spreads, bacon, franks sausages, chicken sausages, condiments, and pre-sliced meat available.
In 2012, the ‘bold’ range was launched, which carries international cheeses and meats, and recipes inspired by foreign cuisine. The company’s range has grown ever since.
One can look forward to a massive selection of specialty meats, including dry rubbed and hardwood smoked turkey. There are over 500 products in total spanned across five different collections.
Boar’s Head’s exclusive product lines include ranges named Breakfast, Bold, Charcuterie, Snacking, and Simplicity All Natural.
Fans love the fact that their deli meat is free from gluten, milk, cheese, dressing, sugar, artificial flavors, artificial colors, and MSG. In addition, their deli meats have no fillers, by-products, and trans-fats either.
The brand is famous for its high-quality deli meats, condiments, and different types of cheese.
Since its inception, Boar’s Head has done a great job of fulfilling demand and expanding to meet customer expectations.
Their range steadily grows, constantly adding new exciting sauces like various mustard, barbecue sauces, horseradish-based sauce, meats, countless cheeses, and other items like their famous pickles.
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There’s no lack of diversity, and one can expect the already-broad selection to expand over the coming years. Already, teams of independent distributions ensure ready availability of their fine deli meats and products no matter where in the US you may be.
Boar’s Head is estimated to have annual revenue for 2022 of just over $500 million coming in.
However, this is a conservative estimate as Boar’s Head Provisions Co Inc is known to turnover just over $1 billion a year on average in the recent past, making the Florida-based deli one of the largest and most profitable in the country.
As a company that prides itself on having some of the highest quality deli meat such as poultry, beef, and pork and fine spices, condiments, cheese, and more, one can expect to pay a premium for their goods.
Boar’s Head is more expensive than generic varieties of similar products found in regular supermarkets, eateries, and stores. However, their range available across gourmet stores and fine food outlets is well-priced when compared to similar caliber brands.
You’ll find Boar’s Head products sold in supermarkets and gourmet food stores across the United States and Puerto Rico. Target stores across America carry Boar’s Head making it the go-to choice of retailer for many.
Dietz & Watson
As a family-owned business in operation for over eighty years, Dietz & Watson has risen to become one of the most trusted delis in America. Let’s take a closer look at the Philadelphia-based business and what makes their meat, cheese, and other foods so popular.
Dietz & Watson was founded by Gottlieb Dietz, who left Germany after the second world war. He started the company in Philadelphia after honing his expertise as a sausage maker for just short of twenty years.
Dietz purchased The Watson Meat Company in 1939, which was situated in Philadelphia’s historic Old City.
Dietz & Watson carries a diverse selection of turkey, chicken, beef, ham & pork, franks & sausages, and Italian specialty meats. The company also keeps cheddar, American, Swiss, provolone, muenster, jack, panino, and a range of other imported cheeses.
Finally, pickles, mayo, mustard, aioli, and a few other sauces are on offer, as well as beef jerky, meat sticks, and assorted snack packs are sold. They are known to have more than seven hundred products available in the United States.
All beef is sourced from the Midwest, and they only import pork from Canada. In addition, Dietz & Watson has an original line offering organic and antibiotic-free deli meats, organic hot dogs (beef), and cheeses.
There are also over twenty-five varieties of snack packs, cheese, salami, and beef jerky in their exclusive range.
Out of the many gourmet meat and cheese options available at Dietz & Watson, you’ll find meat-free from nitrates, nitrites, and antibiotics. All cheese sold is certified as not being treated with recombinant bovine growth hormones.
One can look forward to finding deli meat that’s been hand spiced, and there are absolutely no artificial ingredients, flavors, colors, fillers, extenders, or MSG.
While not as aggressive as Boar’s Head, Dietz & Watson are steadily growing their product range. In 2021, the company launched a new product line called ‘The Blends’, which combines vegetables and quinoa into a selection of chicken sausages.
As one can see by this blended protein product initiative, more and more products can be expected, but they’re basically all targeted at omnivores and flexitarians.
Dietz & Watson have estimated operating revenue for 2022 of $350 million. However, certain industry experts project $500 million for the year based on the company’s current favorable rate of growth.
Despite being an enterprise with a reputation for carrying some of the finest quality deli meats and cheeses available, Dietz & Watson are surprisingly affordable. Expect prices that are on par with Boar’s Head and certain food items that offer even greater affordability.
Compared to most mainstream gourmet delis, Dietz & Watson are surprisingly well-priced.
You’ll find Dietz & Watson sold in local delis, supermarkets, and gourmet food stores. It’s also available at Walmart stores across the United States. Dietz & Watson offers a handy store locator for those looking for the closest nearby stockist.
Which Is Best, Boar’s Head Vs. Dietz & Watson?
When it comes to picking a winner between Boar’s Head vs. Dietz & Watson, it comes down to personal preference and what you feel like on the specific occasion. Both offer an expansive range of deli meats, cheeses, and snacks of the highest quality.
We suggest that you browse through each fine establishment’s product selection carefully so that you don’t miss out on any of the fantastic products that they have on offer.
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— Update: 19-03-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Read This Before You Ever Stand In Line At The Deli Counter Again. from the website foodbabe.com for the keyword dietz and watson vs boars head.
Whenever I enter a conventional grocery store, I get heart palpitations. You might think I am kidding about this, but I am not. My body gets heated, my face starts to scowl and I end up saying “WTF” about 18 times before I leave the store. You’d think by now, I would have my emotions under control – but I don’t and I think that’s why I am so passionate about fixing this food system. And I know you are too because you keep emailing, commenting and alerting me of all the messed up things you are seeing out there and I can’t thank you enough!
This investigation is one that you have been asking for, so here it is… And if you are new to Food Babe, you definitely want to read this before you ever go to the deli counter again.
You asked: Is Boar’s Head deli meat better than the other brands?
I’ve received emails and comments on social media expressing that you’ve been led to believe that Boar’s Head deli meat is healthier than other brands – but you wanted to know if it really is better or if they’ve just got really good marketing.
Their slogan – “Compromise Elsewhere” – sure makes it sound like they don’t add cheap additives to their deli meats, but is that really true? One of your emails said:
Another reader sent me this photo of a big sign they saw at Publix grocery store:
Reading between the lines, this is what this sign says to me…
- “No Fillers”: This means their meats don’t contain carrageenan, soy concentrate, cellulose, starches, and other cheap substances that can hold processed meat together and reduce costs for food manufacturers.
- “No By-Products”: These are parts of the animal that we don’t typically eat, like lips, tripe, pork stomachs, and hearts. Even mainstream deli meat brands like Oscar Mayer (confirmed on the phone) and Sara Lee (via their website) claim to have deli meats that are free of by-products, so this doesn’t really set Boar’s Head apart as superior to those brands.
- “No Artificial Colors”: Here they are only referring to FD&C certified colors, as these are the only ones considered “artificial” by the FDA: Blue #1, Blue #2, Green #3, Red #3, Red #40, Yellow #5, and Yellow #6. I haven’t been able to find a single deli meat that contains any certified artificial colors, so this claim really doesn’t mean anything and is misleading because caramel color is still used.
- “No Artificial Flavors”: Another trick to make you believe their meat only contains quality ingredients, when in reality “natural” flavors can still be used. Natural flavors are not much different than the artificial variety and are made in a lab.
- “No Trans Fat”: Their meats don’t contain partially hydrogenated oils. Again, this isn’t a normal ingredient in deli meat… I’ve never seen it!
- “No Gluten”: Most deli meats are already gluten-free, so this isn’t a big shocker. But there are some deli meats that do contain gluten or may be cross-contaminated with gluten, and Boar’s Head’s claims their meats are free of gluten and thereby safe for people with celiacs.
As you can see, marketing messages like these on signs, ads, and on the front of a package tell you very little about a product. This is why I say to stop paying attention to these tactics and to always read the ingredients instead!
The biggest red flag that something was up at Boar’s Head was when I tried to find their ingredients on their website and they weren’t listed.
If Boar’s Head is so proud of the quality of their products, why don’t they publish what’s in them? How are we supposed to “trust” them if they aren’t being transparent? Even their fiercest deli meat competitor, Dietz & Watson, lists their ingredients online. Besides bugging the busy deli counter worker, there really should be an easier way to get their ingredients, and publishing them online is the best way to make them accessible to consumers.
My team called Boar’s Head to see if they would email over a list of their deli meat ingredients – and had no luck. The customer service rep told us that she wasn’t able to email us a list. She was only able to read off the ingredients over the phone for specific products, but wouldn’t send them to me via email (even for just one product). They won’t send them to us in writing? Again… red flag! I really began to wonder what Boar’s Head is trying to hide.
Given our experience with customer service, I reached out directly to the President of Boar’s Head – Mike Martella to discuss this as well, but have not heard back yet. But, after obtaining some ingredients directly from Boar’s Head over the phone and from Publix grocery stores (one of their biggest retailers), it turns out that Boar’s Head is adding some pretty controversial additives to their deli meats.
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This is what I think the Boar’s Head sign should really say…
“Don’t Trust Boar’s Head!”
“Artificially Browned with Carcinogenic Caramel Color!”
Boar’s Head artificially browns some varieties of deli meat with class III and class IV caramel coloring, which is linked to cancer (this is the same color that we successfully campaigned to get removed from Starbucks drinks!) Caramel coloring is in a dozen of their meats, including the Rotisserie Seasoned Roasted Chicken Breast, EverRoast Turkey, Seasoned Filet Roast Beef, and Maple Honey Ham.
“Made With GMOs?!?!?!”
Update 1/11: Called Boar’s Head again, and they said their meat is not non-GMO.
We asked Boar’s Head if any of their deli meats contain GMOs and they didn’t respond. Yet, they use many ingredients that are usually derived from GMO crops like sugar (sugar beets). Added sugar and/or dextrose (typically made from GMO corn) is found in a lot of their meats, even in ones that seem healthier like their “No Salt Added Turkey Breast”. Other meats that are “maple glazed” and “honey coat” contain more sugar and dextrose than real honey or maple syrup. They also told us that their caramel coloring is derived from corn and some of them are browned in cottonseed oil (the worst GMO oil on the planet and is regulated like a textile crop (more toxic pesticides!) – cottonseed oil is not food!). Boar’s Head claims that many of their meats are “Vegetarian Grain-Fed”, yet this is often code for “GMO-fed” animals when not organic.
“Raised with Antibiotics!”
To be fair, they do have a “Natural” line that is antibiotic-free, but they told us the others are given antibiotics for disease prevention. Now that Subway has made the commitment to stop using antibiotics to raise their deli meats, hopefully Boar’s Head will follow suit. Boar’s Head also told us that they have no organic deli meat. Organic meats are prohibited from using antibiotics and growth-promoting drugs and hormones in their animals. Organic animals also can’t be fed GMOs or given drugs like ractopamine.
“Flavored with Secret and Proprietary Ingredients!”
Several of Boar’s Head meats contain “natural flavors” or “Natural Hickory Smoke Flavoring”. Just because it doesn’t contain artificial flavors, that doesn’t mean the taste isn’t fake or engineered in a lab. The chemicals that are used to make “natural flavors” are kept secret from consumers and their “safety is sometimes declared based on scientific data that isn’t publicly available”.
What about their Preservative-free claims?
Boar’s Head sent me a list of their deli meats with “No Preservatives and Without Added Nitrates”, yet I found that some of these meats – like the Cajun Style Smoked Turkey, Lemon Pepper Chicken and All American BBQ Chicken – still contained sodium phosphate. This additive is on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list of ingredients to avoid because it can increase the risk of heart disease.
Maltodextrin has no place in deli meat that takes “No Compromises”.
I found the additive maltodextrin in some of their meats: Everroast Roasted Chicken, All American BBQ Chicken, London Broil Roast Beef, Virginia Ham, and Lemon Pepper Chicken, and most of these also contain dextrose and other added sugars. These ingredients are carbohydrates and commonly used as “fillers” in cheap processed food, like the taco “meat” at Taco Bell. Maltodextrin is also often a hidden form of MSG.
I don’t eat deli meats often, but when I do this is what I choose:
- 100% certified organic (preferably grass fed/pastured) – This ensures that the animals weren’t given antibiotics or growth hormones, weren’t fed GMOs, and none of the ingredients are derived from GMOs.
- I like to roast whole pieces of organic meat, and slice it myself. This way, I know exactly what’s in it and there’s no processing!
- Whole organic sliced deli meat without sodium nitrate.
- No fillers or additives like carrageenan or maltodextrin.
- Brands that list their ingredients online (if not already pre-packaged with ingredients).
Some brands to try: Organic Prairie, Kol Foods Oven Roasted Turkey, Nuna Naturals, Applegate Farms (some contain carrageenan and fillers – so always read the ingredients!)
If you know someone who is blindly trusting Boar’s Head meat, please share this post with them. Be part of the change, take a moment and comment on Boar’s Head Facebook page here or tweet them here – tell them we deserve better.
Update 1/12/2016 – See new revealing ingredient pictures here.
Update 1/8/2016 – Reader obtained additional ingredient lists from Publix and it looks like Boar’s Head Virginia Baked Ham has MSG.