How do you know what kind of lunch meat is good quality and which kind is over processed and glued together?
Any particular brands that you know are good?
It tends to run with the "Get what you pay for" trend with lunch meat.
Boar's Head is very high quality. Pricey, but very good. Jennie-O deals with turkey and is also of high quality.
It may seem odd, but the shape of the packaged meat has alot to do with the production. Ex. Ham. A high quality ham product will look like a ham. The more processed and formed products will have a tube or square shape. This will be true most of the time.
Also, anything Kosher.
The purity laws that Kosher production has to follow makes for very meat.
I read this tip here on this site and it works well for me. Buy a turkey breast, season, bake, then cut it up. This works well for sandwiches, wraps, or just to have with complex carbs and vegetables. I also buy large, lean cuts of beef from Sam's and do the same with them. Roast beef is very versatile.
I do not know the answer to your question. I thought most if not all packaged and deli meats were processed?
I too stay away from all lunch meats, as I thought they are all filled with nitrates/ processed and high in sodium. The below caption is a good idea, even better if you have a meat slicer.
One more thing. I also like to grill a bunch of chicken breasts Sunday afternoon. I leave some whole, and some I slice up thin. This is good for use on salads and sandwiches. It may take a lot of time up front for grilling and preparing a lot of meat, but it will last a while and seems to be a healthier choice than lunch meats.
If you really have to have lunch meat, say, for convenience and the above suggestions about preparing your own meat aren't viable options for you, the kosher suggestion is a good one. The key is to get the stuff fresh from an actual butcher if you have access to one, most Sam's Clubs actually have good meat departments with real butchers. ANY prepackaged meat that's sealed in plastic is going to contain excessive nitrates and sodium, some brands are less evil than others but why dance with the Devil at all if you can avoid it?