Finnebrogue has invested £17 million to build a new nitrite-free bacon facility in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland.
The facility aims to boost the output of the company’s Naked Bacon line which hit British shelves last year.
Although nitrites are added to bacon for visual, textural and preservation reasons, they are classed as carcinogens by the World Health Organisation.
In order to replace nitrites without compromise taste, texture or longevity, Finnebrogue worked with Spanish chemist Prosur to develop the flavouring process.
“It has been known for decades that nitrites used in curing meat can cause cancer,” said Denis Lynn, Chairman of Finnebrogue Artisan.
“That’s why, despite being the UK’s leading top-tier sausage maker, we refused to make a single rasher of bacon until we could figure out a way to make it better and safer.
“We always set out to make food the best it can be, without being bound by the way it has always been done.
“And so, after much research, we discovered a process that uses fruit and spice extracts to flavour the pork, keep it pink and retain shelf life.
“We are using this technology in our Naked Bacon and we’ve had a great response from both retailers and consumers.”
The company secured more than £1.3 million of support towards the total cost of the facility from Invest NI.