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Waitrose reduces nitrites across own-label bacon and gammon

26th Jun 2020 / By Alistair Driver

Waitrose is introducing lower levels of nitrite across its entire own-label fresh bacon and gammon ranges at the start of July.

Waitrose baconIn what it says is a retail first for these ranges, Waitrose said the reducing the preservative will not compromise on taste or quality. 

Examples include nitrite being reduced by 60% in essential Waitrose bacon and gammon,
and by 10% in its dry ure bacon and gammon in all other ranges. The updated products will start appearing on shelves from Monday, June 29. 

Nitrites are a preservative, responsible for producing bacon and gammon’s characteristic flavour, texture, taste and colour, but removing it completely would mean it’s simply defined as salty pork, Waitrose said. 

The move comes in response to growing public awareness surrounding nitrites after a World Health Organisation (WHO) report recommended limiting these in the diet, it added.

Amy Trobridge, Pork Buyer at Waitrose & Partners, said: “We know many of our customers love a bacon sandwich or the occasional full English. This change means that they can enjoy great tasting, high welfare bacon with reduced nitrite levels. Our updated range doesn’t come at any additional cost to our customers either.” 

Waitrose has seen a 44% surge in bacon sales in the last three months, as data from Kantar shows that the number of cooked breakfasts served in UK households has almost doubled during lockdown, with an estimated 20 million eaten during the four weeks to April 19. 

Meanwhile, the NPA has welcomed a pledge from Waitrose, in the context of the ongoing debate over food standards, that it will 'never sell any Waitrose product that does not meet our own high standards'.