Why Nitrites aren't Necessary when Quality and Taste is the Priority

Why Nitrites aren't Necessary when Quality and Taste is the Priority

Tom Horvath Neuman MD of Properoni provides some insights into how when  pepperoni is make properly nitrites aren't necessary.

Recent studies have shown that consumers are becoming particularly mindful of what they put into their bodies, with increasing scrutiny on ingredients and a growing demand for clean label products. And the food industry is undergoing a transformation as a direct reflection of this.  One notable shift is the growing demand for nitrite-free alternatives, as consumers look for a wider choice in their local supermarkets. In this article, we discuss why nitrites may not be necessary at all in the production process when things are done properly using natural solutions.

Understanding the Nitrite Dilemma

Nitrites, such as sodium nitrite, have long been used in the food industry as preservatives, particularly in cured meats like bacon, pepperoni, and sausages. However, their use has been a topic of debate due to potential health risks associated with the consumption of processed foods containing nitrites. Studies have suggested that a diet high in processed meats containing nitrites may increase the risk of certain types of cancer*. This concern has prompted a growing number of consumers to become more discerning about their food choices and opt for nitrite-free options.

Why Nitrites Aren't Necessary

Whilst nitrites are widely used across many processed meats, what many people don’t know is that if things are done properly and naturally that there is no need to add potentially harmful additives or nitrite alternatives at all. And you can end up with a product with a superior flavour profile as a result.

 Tom Horvath Neumann, MD of PROPERONI® provides some insights into the production process of Properoni ‘Pepperoni made properly’

“Properoni’s unique, award-winning flavour comes as the result of slow smoking over beechwood, curing and air drying. No additives or starter culture are used to accelerate ripening, it is all done naturally and expertly, using the same simple methods as used in Roman times. Quality and importantly food safety is assured through carefully controlled water activity. When fermentation is undertaken naturally and properly, as we do, it results in an enhanced and diverse flavour profile**.  It’s this ‘doing things properly’ attitude which is at the heart of our brand. With a clean ingredient list, Properoni products are strictly free from all preservatives, nitrites, and additives.”

The shift towards nitrite-free options is evident in the changing landscape of supermarket shelves, with key retailers now offering more nitrite-free bacon and Properoni is leading the way in cured meats by becoming the first Nitrite Free dedicated pepperoni brand to launch in grocery.

The Future of Nitrite-Free Foods

As we continue to prioritise health and transparency in our food choices, the nitrite-free revolution is likely to gain even more momentum. Brands like Properoni are at the forefront, demonstrating that quality and superior taste can coexist with a commitment to natural, nitrite-free alternatives. The food industry is adapting to meet the demands of consumers, and the shift towards healthier, nitrite-free options is a testament to this evolution.

 *Queens University Belfast Study –Nature Journal 2023.

**Dr. Michael Gänzle; Professor and Canada Research Chair in Food Microbiology, University of Alberta is an academic scholar. He has authored several journals on meat fermentation demonstrating that more diverse fermentation organisms create more diverse flavours.

See all articles in News