Developed in partnership with processor Tulip Ltd, the change to the bacon range will come at no additional cost to consumers, and the reduced nitrite bacon will first launch in stores with 11 core lines in January 2020, followed by 13 premium lines later in 2020.
Nitrites, which are used to cure bacon, will be reduced by 60% across 24 fresh, 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.
Director of delicious food at Co-op Breige Donaghy 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.”
Tulip customer director Zoe Bruce added: “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.”