Beef bacon adds value to trim meat

Friday, 18 May 2012 00:00

For immediate release

Beef ‘bacon’ adds value to trim meat

Richard Janzen is putting a new twist on the marketing slogan, “where’s the beef?”

Janzen is manufacturing beef bacon from cow bellies.

The president of Calgary-based Canadian Beef Bacon, which also markets beef ham, says his product adds to the animal’s total carcass value.

“When you’re taking an extra 50 to 100 pounds of a carcass and developing it into a value-added product, that’s pretty unbelievable,” he said.

Janzen began researching and developing beef bacon in 2009 before launching it last year at a food show in Toronto.

“It looks and tastes exactly like bacon,” said Janzen, while boasting a more attractive nutritional content than pork, with fewer calories and less cholesterol.

While he’s not the first person to produce beef bacon, he said his method is different. Where other companies have made beef bacon from the animal’s brisket, his is made from the same cut of meat as traditional pork bacon.

“We’re not talking beef and pressing it and forming it and making it look like bacon,” said Janzen.

Janzen said he had difficulty getting a beef belly from a butcher when he started developing the product. The beef from the more undesirable short plate usually ends up as trim and used in hamburgers.

Janzen used a partnership with Canada Beef Inc., which helps research, market and promote beef products, to secure Cargill as a supplier. The company developed a new beef code to meet Janzen’s specifications.

His product is manufactured at plant in Ontario, where it is processed and cured similarly to pork.

Janzen started selling beef bacon at farmers’ markets and has stocked the product in grocery stores and restaurants in Alberta and British Columbia. However, production has ceased while a new recipe to make the product phosphate free awaits approval from regulators.

Anne Kennedy of Agriculture Canada’s food regulatory issues division works with food companies as they seek regulatory approval.

“You want to make sure that you really understand the implications of either changing a supplier, or changing an ingredient, and how that affects your nutrition,” she said in an interview after speaking at a recent Saskatoon conference about food labels and marketing.

She said it’s a common mistake that companies make when they take products through the pipeline for the first time.

“They always want to blame the regulatory people when in fact they were unaware that they had some more homework to do before they could go to market.”

Once approved, Janzen expects to see his product distributed by Costco and other Canadian retailers.

“We’re taking beef products that have no value virtually — they’re hard to market, there’s no great idea for them — and we’ve turned them into beef bacon.”

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