Co-op reduces nitrites across all own-label bacon range

Co-op reduces nitrites across all own-label bacon range

The Co-op is to reduce the amount of nitrites used in its own-label British bacon range by 60 per cent – a first for any retailer in the UK.

Nitrites are added to cure bacon.

Nitrites, a type of preservative which are used to cure bacon, will be reduced across 24 British Co-op lines and in all its ranges, including its premium tier. This includes back and streaky bacon, medallions and bacon chops as well as lardons.

Breige Donaghy, director of food at Co-op, said: “As a responsible retailer, we look for ways to make real change to help our members and customers to make even better choices when shopping in our stores. We’ve listened to what our shoppers want and followed guidance from leading experts in the industry to address the concerns around the amount of nitrites that are required to create cured meats, such as bacon.

“By working closely with our supplier, Tulip, we’ve been able to reduce the amount of nitrites by 60 per cent without compromising preservation and still delivering a great quality product. We will continue to listen to our customers and stay committed to making the highest quality products across Co-op’s total own brand ranges.”

The development in the stores own label bacon range will come at no additional cost to consumers. The reduced nitrite bacon will first launch in stores with 11 core lines in January 2020, followed by 13 premium lines later in 2020.

Zoe Bruce, customer director at Tulip, said: “Putting the customer first, as ever, Co-op will be the only UK major retailer to offer a lower nitrite range across its entire own brand bacon category, rather than selling a niche ‘nitrite-free’ product which is not accessible to all and sold at a much higher premium.

“To remove nitrites completely would not produce the quality of bacon customers are used to. With this in mind, we’ve worked with Co-op to reduce nitrites in its bacon products to a level where the typical characteristics of bacon are still maintained. There is no impact to preservation, texture or appearance and most importantly it still tastes great.”

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