What's in store-bought chicken broth?

What’s in Store-Bought Chicken Stock?

At Brodo, we understand the love, devotion, and hard work that goes into creating a truly delicious bone broth. That’s why we were particularly interested in the January 2023 Eater piece by Noah Galuten, “Lost in the Stock.” The author attempts to understand why, as his mother always said, store-bought broth is not as good as “the real thing”. 

The author goes on a quest to discover the truth about store-bought broth or “how can two things that are supposed to be the same, taste and feel so wildly different?”  Over the course of several weeks of outreach to broth companies, retailers, and even regulators at the USDA & FDA, Galuten mostly just gets… pissed off! In response to basic questions about how broth is made, he receives what he calls “corporate hokum,” “bureaucratic hair splitting,” and “banal sedatives.” Stuff like “management has no comment at this time,” “we abide by the labeling rules and guidelines set by the FDA,” our products have passed “rigorous quality and taste tests” and “our spokesman isn’t available for your follow-up questions.” You get the idea!

bone broth

Many weeks of research (and 4,500 words) later, the article makes a few things clear:  

There is surprisingly little regulation of the broth sector. There are no specific regulatory definitions for the terms stock, broth, or bone broth. You can’t quite “throw a chicken bone in a lake and call it bone broth,” but just about.

Ingredient labels aren’t much help. Even “clean label” broths with “kitchen-like ingredients” are hard to evaluate.  The first and primary ingredient for most broths is a concentrated broth from a large third-party manufacturer, and the trick to tell this is the case is when the first ingredient reads “chicken broth” alongside a list of other ingredients.

The health benefits of broth depend, of course, on what goes into the pot!  “Broth is the water extract of whatever it is extracting!”

We LOVED this 4,500 deep dive into the world of broth (bones points for the random reference to Dr. Richard Kimbal & Provasic!).  But of course, there is a store-bought broth that is “the real thing”.  We would like to think that even the author’s mom might approve of Brodo (but of course he would be smart enough to add, “oh….it’s not as good as yours, mom”.)

Brodo.  Made from scratch with no concentrates, no preservatives, and no shortcuts.


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