The changes have been made across both its premium and budget ranges, starting today (29 June), with the preservative reduced by 60% in essential Waitrose bacon and gammon.
All other products – including its dry-cure bacon and gammon, which had their nitrite level reduced prior to this new push by the retailer – have seen nitrite levels fall by 10%.
No cost to the consumer
Commenting on the move to limit nitrates in its products, Waitrose pork buyer Amy Trobridge 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’s decision to reduce the level of nitrite in its pork products followed growing public awareness surrounding the ingredient.
Concerns over the inclusion of the carcinogen in bacon and gammon has led to a number of innovations across the industry, including a nitrite-free range launched by pork processor Finnebrogue in 2018.
Surge in bacon sales
Waitrose saw a 44% surge in bacon sales in the last three months, as data from Kantar showed the number of cooked breakfasts served in UK households had almost doubled during lockdown – an estimated 20m cooked breakfasts were eaten during the four weeks to 19 April.
In our pork and bacon feature, the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board told Food Manufacture processed meats – which include bacon, gammon, burgers and grills, sausages and sliced cooked meats – have proved popular during the lockdown. Sausages and bacon have been target purchases, as consumers perceive them as easier to cook.
Meanwhile, in other pork industry news, Tulip has revealed plans to review its entire supply chain in a bid to further reduce food waste across the business.