True Primal is devoted to bringing you convenient, real-food products that meet rigorous standards of quality and taste—all while being in alignment with humanity’s design. In fact, delivering such products is the very essence of our mission as a company, and has been since day one.
Here’s a look at what our standards mean to us—and, consequently, for you!
“Primal” means first or fundamental. Along with “ancestral,” “primal” has become a popular description for living in a way that’s in line with how humans are designed to thrive. This means embracing exercise, fresh air, sufficient sleep, and stress reduction along with nutrition to achieve optimal health.
As it refers to diet, “primal” encompasses foods that are nutrient-dense and well tolerated by most people, typically with a long (think: thousands of years) track record for supporting human health.
Similar terms like “paleo diet” and “caveman diet” are sometimes used here as well, but we want to avoid fixating on a specific era of time (the Paleolithic period), since this can lead to counterproductive arguments about exactly what each tribe of people was doing and when. We don’t want to recreate the past—just apply the wisdom of alignment to the modern day.
All of our products support a primal framework by utilizing nutrient-dense, minimally processed plant and animal foods chosen for their congruence with human health. This also means avoiding synthetic ingredients, grains, and other common allergens that many people find problematic. In so doing, we aim to create the optimal conditions for the body to thrive.
We use superior animal products from high-welfare livestock—not only for the sake of human health, but also for the health of animals and the planet itself. To achieve this, we utilize programs like the Global Animal Partnership to constantly improve all of our farm and ranch sourcing, choosing meat suppliers that are as committed to quality as we are.
Our animal-based ingredients currently include:
- 100% grass-fed, free-range, antibiotic-free beef (including certified GAP-4 beef in our chili), which has superior micronutrient and fatty acid profiles.
- Fully pasture-raised, antibiotic-free GAP-4 chicken meat from slow-growth heritage breeds, which produces meat higher in collagen, zinc, iron, protein, and omega-3 fats. 
- Gelatin and beef broth from grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle.
- Chicken broth from free-range birds.
We support agricultural practices that create harmony among humans, livestock, and the land—leading to deeply nourishing and health-promoting products. To join us on this mission, learn more about our commitment to Animal Welfare and Regenerative Agriculture.
Meat isn’t the only food that suffers at the hands of our modern agricultural practices. Conventionally grown fruit and vegetables have been shown to be lower in nutritional quality, lower in antioxidants, lower in phytonutrients, higher in heavy metals, higher in pesticide residue, and greater carriers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria than their organically grown counterparts.   
Likewise, industrial farming methods like tilling, monocrops, and the use of chemicals and synthetic fertilizers can be damaging to the ecosystem—causing a loss of soil biodiversity, polluting local air and water, and increasing greenhouse gas emissions.  
For these reasons, we source organic vegetables, herbs, and spices wherever possible, and support farmers who employ holistic farming methods. This allows us to create products packed with flavor and nutrition, without the potentially health-harming byproducts of industrial farming.
For our sweetened products, we use only natural, whole-food ingredients—particularly honey and maple syrup, which are both teeming with beneficial phytonutrients and prebiotic compounds.    You can learn more about the health-promoting properties of these sweeteners in our articles:
Although other arguably “natural” sweeteners exist—such as monk fruit extract, stevia, agave, and more—we don’t view these ingredients as in full alignment with human health. Questions remain about how exposure to intense sweetness without calories impacts blood sugar regulation and metabolic health, and some compounds in these “natural” sweeteners appear to be endocrine disruptors (such as the steviol glycosides is stevia).   Similarly, these lack the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that truly whole-food sweeteners contribute to the diet.
We’re committed to complete transparency of our ingredients lists. We never use secretive language like “natural flavors” or “spices,” but rather spell out everything one by one. This way, you always know exactly what’s going into your body.
Our Big List of “No”
When it comes to crafting the healthiest foods possible, the ingredients we avoid are just as important as the ingredients we embrace. When in doubt, we take an “err on the side of caution” approach—opting to exclude questionable ingredients in favor of those with an established history of non-harm in the human diet. Our big list of “No” serves as a guide for keeping our products in alignment with human health.
No gluten or wheat:
All of our products are free from gluten and wheat. While not everybody experiences sensitivities or allergies to these things, they can be problematic for many people—including those with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, irritable bowel syndrome, and some non-celiac autoimmune diseases.  
Our products are free from monosodium glutamate (MSG), an additive widely used to impart a savory flavor to foods. Some studies show that MSG acts on the body’s glutamate receptors, impacting the release of neurotransmitters and potentially increasing the risk of obesity, disrupted fat metabolism, neurological problems, liver damage, and reproductive organ dysfunction.  While the evidence of direct neurological harm may be weak, we are extremely concerned about any additive that tricks your senses into feeling you are receiving nutrition you aren’t actually getting.
No yeast or yeast extract:
We never use yeast or yeast extract, which are food flavorings made from the same yeast used for making beer and bread. Due to containing high amounts of free glutamate, these ingredients are often used by food producers to impart similar flavor properties as MSG, without having to legally declare “added MSG” on the label. Some yeast can also be contaminated with gluten, making it a potential exposure risk for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
No hydrolyzed vegetable protein:
We avoid the use of hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), which is a flavor enhancer typically made from corn, soy, or wheat. As with yeast and MSG, it’s high in glutamate, and its most common production method (acid hydrolysis) can lead to the formation of 3-monochloropropane 1,2-diol (3-MCPD)—a contaminant that can potentially harm the kidneys and heart, cause fertility issues, and act as a carcinogen.   
No artificial flavors:
Artificial flavors are additives created from synthetic substances and chemicals, designed to mimic the taste of natural ingredients. Some artificial flavors have been revoked by the FDA after being previously declared safe, leading to concerns about whether currently approved flavors might eventually be found harmful. In addition, food manufacturers aren’t required to label the specific artificial flavors their products contain, leading to a great deal of opacity about what you’re really eating. We categorically avoid any artificial flavors, opting to use real foods to make our products delicious.
No artificial colors:
Our products are free from artificial colors, which are synthetic dyes typically derived from petroleum. The vast majority of artificial colors have been banned due to evidence of harm, and research suggests the ones still approved for human consumption might be problematic as well—including containing known carcinogens, such as benzidine and 2- and 4-methylimidazoles.  Along with potentially raising cancer risk, studies have linked artificial colors to DNA damage, inflammation, leaky gut, and behavioral issues in children.    
No hormones or antibiotics:
As part of our mission to support animal welfare (as well as deliver the tastiest meats possible), we exclusively use animal products that are raised without added hormones and antibiotics. This ensures our foods won’t contribute to the wide-ranging health and environmental issues associated with hormone and antibiotic use in livestock—including the promotion of drug-resistant bacteria, disruptions in the human gut microbiome, and potentially increased risk of hormone-related cancers. 
We avoid the use of preservatives—chemical substances that help prolong the shelf life of foods. Studies show that various preservatives can disturb glucose metabolism, increase diabetes risk, harm fetal development, induce DNA damage, impair the immune system, damage gut health, and increase the risk of some cancers.      Some preservatives, such as sulfites, can also trigger allergic or asthmatic reactions. 
No soy or soybean oil:
All of our products are free from soy and its derivatives, including soybean oil. Along with being common allergens, soy products are high in omega-6 fats, which can contribute to a number of chronic inflammatory diseases. Soybean oil, in particular, has been linked to increased risk of diabetes and obesity, and may cause genetic changes in the brain that promote neurological problems.
No canola oil:
Canola oil is often viewed as a healthier vegetable oil, due its substantial monounsaturated fat content and relatively lower levels of omega-6. However, canola oil can contain trans fats that form during the deodorizing process, and some studies show a possible detrimental effect of its consumption on antioxidant status and memory.   For our products that contain oils, we opt for unrefined fats with more favorable health profiles.
No cellulose gum/gel/powder:
We never use processed cellulose ingredients (gum, gel, and powder), which are thickeners made from the cell walls of plants—most often inedible sources like wood pulp and cottonseeds. Experiments show these additives can negatively impact the gut microbiome, potentially contributing to chronic inflammatory diseases and aggravating intestinal disorders. 
No dry pulse beans:
Pulses are dried edible seeds that grow in a pod, such as dried beans and chickpeas (in contrast to fresh beans, like sugar snap peas and green beans). Although pulse beans are relatively nutrient-dense whole foods, they’re also common allergens, can cause digestive distress, and contain lectins that can be problematic for people with autoimmune disease.  In some cases, they also act as allergic triggers for people with asthma and rhinitis. To help ensure our products are well tolerated, we avoid the use of beans—even in our Beef Chili!
No refined sugar:
Our products are universally free from added sugar—including sugars dressed up in healthy-sounding names (like coconut sugar, date sugar, corn sweetener, cane juice crystals, evaporated cane juice, and rice syrup). While we believe sweet treats can be a joyful part of the diet, added sugars bring little value to the foods they’re in, and are associated with increased risk of numerous inflammatory and metabolic diseases.   We use minimally processed natural sweeteners that retain their nutritional content, and that the human body recognizes as food.
No corn syrup:
Our products are strictly free from corn syrup, a sweetener derived from corn starch. Along with providing no nutritive value, corn syrup has been linked to metabolic syndrome, can disturb the gut microbiome, and may be even more inflammatory than standard refined sugar.  
No artificial sweeteners:
Our products are free from artificial sweeteners—chemicals designed to mimic the taste of sugar, but with fewer or zero calories. Along with tricking you into eating things that aren’t food, artificial sweeteners have been linked to a higher risk of cancer and heart disease, can negatively impact the gut microbiome, and may interfere with the body’s hormonal control of hunger signaling.   
Along with gluten, our products are free from all grains, as they’re common allergens and are prohibited on a number of dietary regimens.
Our products never contain maltodextrin—a type of heavily processed carbohydrate with no nutritional value, often used to improve the texture of foods. Studies show it can damage the lining of the intestine, negatively alter the gut microbiota, promote inflammation, and aggravate colitis. 
Because milk and other dairy products are common allergens and poorly tolerated by many people, we keep our products dairy-free.
A note on nightshades:
Nightshades are a botanical plant family that includes common vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes. Most people can safely consume these foods, but they contain compounds called glycoalkaloids that may trigger symptom flare-ups in people with autoimmune disease. Because nightshades are nutrient-dense and generally health promoting, we don’t categorically avoid them as ingredients. However, some of our products are nightshade-free and therefore acceptable for people following the Autoimmune Protocol.
Something For Everyone
We understand that many people have food intolerances, sensitivities, or preferences that put otherwise paleo-friendly ingredients off the menu. For this reason, we strive to offer options for those with additional dietary needs. This includes a number of Whole30-approved products and some AIP compliant soups.
The Bottom Line
We ensure that every decision we make about our products, no matter how small, is consistent with our core values—delivering the greatest possible nutrition with satiating, satisfying, quality ingredients. We’re confident you’ll be able to taste the difference!
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