Quality Meat Scotland develops healthier bacon

Scottish producers are hoping to appeal to health conscious consumers with the launch a new healthier bacon.
The bacon, which features 25% less salt and 20% less fat, was developed as part of a £40,000 Quality Meat Scotland project, match funding by Scottish Enterprise.

The healthy breakfast favourite was unveiled at a special gathering of 300 Scottish farmers and the Scottish Executive's cabinet secretary for rural affairs, Richard Lochead.

The bacon was presented to the gathering by Kenny Allan, general manager of Irvine’s of Perthshire, the butcher’s business which worked with QMS on the project. Kenny was joined by David Soutar, Farms Director of Strathmore Farming Company which supplied the pigs, processed by St Andrews Abattoir Company, to Irvine’s for today’s breakfast.

The bacon was developed in a project to investigate the potential to lower the salt and saturated fat content of eight traditional Scots favourites – including black pudding, sausages and Scotch Pies - while retaining the flavour that makes the products so popular.

The project saw Quality Meat Scotland working with seven different meat producers and the Food Innovation team at Abertay University who rose to the challenge of developing the healthier formulations.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Like many others I enjoy the occasional bacon roll, so this new bacon which is 20 per cent lower in fat and has 25 per cent less salt is good news for the industry - and our health!

“Recently we’ve seen healthier versions of burgers, sausages and even the famous Scotch pie being produced by the sector as it responds to consumer demand for healthier food choices as part of a balanced diet. It’s encouraging to see one of our breakfast favourites join the list and I look forward to seeing others in the future."

Dietitian Jennifer Robertson, health and education co-ordinator with Quality Meat Scotland, said a major challenge of the project had been the need to avoid compromising on the flavour which bacon, and the other Scottish favourites, are famed for. “The development of this bacon involved a wet-curing process and the meat is cured with the skin intact.

“Through this process the skin absorbs some of the salt and the salt content of the bacon is then lowered when the skin is removed. Extra trimming of fat after the curing process creates a lower fat content.

“The result is bacon which has a salt content of 2.29g per 100g, comfortably below the Food Standard Agency’s 2012 salt target for bacon which is 2.88g per 100g,” she added.

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