Looking for good chili

I am looking for pre-made chili with no MSG or bad ingredients. I wanted a classic recipe with ground beef and pinto beans. I tried Chili’s, a supermarket and the soup counter at Whole Foods. I’m in the US. I did my best but the search is still on. This is what I found for now. Suggestions are welcome.

The last time I was there, Whole Foods’ soup counter happened to have chili but it had too much red pepper, as did three of their soups that day. The soups and stews at Whole Foods unfortunately contain hidden MSG, as do most items in their hot bar. Most of their soups and stews taste previously frozen, although they currently deny that.

Too bad. I want fresh homemade food with NO MSG from the Whole Foods deli section. I’d prefer fewer choices but better quality.

The Chili at Chili’s went downhill years ago. Their Terlingua chili was good once. I think I tried their chili again a few months ago. It is no longer Terlingua chili and contained too much red peppera. Chili’s is constantly messing with their drinks, recipes, and menus. That sucks when they got something right.

I don’t trust online reviews for restaurants in my town that have the best chili. From my experience, tastebuds or veracity aren’t required for posting those things. Also, it could be inconvenient to have to deal with parking, traffic and drunk people to get chili.

Next I looked in a large supermarket. I didn’t find any chili in the frozen food aisle. There were numerous choices for canned chili. Many of them were not classic recipes or appeared to contain MSG under alternate names like “autolyzed yeast extract.” Shelves were scanned, labels read. I ended up with Stagg Classic Chili With Beans.


The shine is cornstarch.

It has a removable top, which is appreciated. The can is lined with gold material.


I tasted the cold chili in the can. It tasted metallic to me then, and really bland. The main taste was tomato-ey, and sweet. Cumin seems to be one of the missing flavors. Although the can claims the product contains chopped onions, the ingredients say only “dehydrated onions.” I added some seasoning. I heated it up. Beef broth was Stagg Chili’s first ingredient, which made it watery. It didn’t contain enough meat. It also contained beef and pork instead of just beef, which is not classic. I didn’t notice the metallic taste as much when the chili was heated up. Eating this chili left me unsatisfied and craving the missing flavors. This product was expensive enough that it was a ripoff for what you get.

I’m still looking for pre-made chili.

Ingredients for Stagg Classic Chili With Beans:



Stagg is owned by Hormel. Hormel makes products I do not like, such as Spam. Stagg Classic Chili With Beans didn’t have that nasty spam taste though. Hormel’s headquarters are in the midwest but the can says it was distributed out of Pleasanton, CA, also the home of Safeway’s corporate headquarters. I haven’t researched that coincidence. Stagg Classic Chili’s ingredients felt relatively clean for a commercial product. Although one of the ingredients was suspicious: “flavoring” can be MSG, I didn’t feel MSG in the food. On the negative side, it does contain cornstarch and the mysterious “flavoring.” Corn is a common allergen. Switching to tapioca or potato starch would be less allergenic. Adding more meat might eliminate the need for a thickener.

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