Northern Irish Roman Bacon wins top English food award

Hannan Meats, the Northern Irish catering meat business, has won two gold awards in the prestigious BPEX Foodservice Award for Best Pork Products for its unique 'Roman Bacon' (guanciale), which was named Supreme Champion in the UK Great Taste Awards 2012/13.

BPEX awarded Hannan's Roman Bacon gold for the 'Most Innovative Product' and 'Best Cured Product'. The product, anun-smoked pigs jowl (or cheek), is dry-cured with herbs such as fennel and thyme, sugar, peppers, spices, garlic and red wine to produce a flavour that is stronger than pancetta but with a more delicate, subtle texture which is considered essential in many recipes from Umbria and Lazio in central Italy. Hannan Meats is the UK's only producer of guanciale.

Peter Hannan, managing director of Hannan Meats, commenting on the BPEX awards, says: "This is another tremendous boost for us from one of the most important and influential organisations in pig production and processing in England.

"This very significant endorsement will be extremely beneficial as we seek to build sales of our Roman Bacon into foodservice in England and further afield including Italy, where influential chefs have approached us to supply the product because of a chronic shortage of guanciale there. It's been our experience that awards from bodies such as BPEX are watched closely by foodservice operators.

"Interest in the product has grown strongly over the past year in Britain and has led to a series of immensely encouraging contracts from leading restaurants and other foodservice operations. It has also won plaudits for the excellence of its flavour from UK and international food writers.

"As a result of this interest and support, we've had to take steps to increase production to meet the growing demand. It's been an amazing success story," he adds.

The role of BPEX is to work with the English pig industry to achieve sustainable international competitiveness through reducing production and processing costs and maximising the value of its pork and pork products. The organisation runs a series of initiatives that are designed to showcase the taste and value of pork products to consumers throughout England.

BPEX's core objectives are to assist English farmers and processors to improve cost competitiveness relative to the main EU competitors with particular concentration on herd health and to increase consumer awareness of pork and pork products and thereby to boost sales especially among consumers in England.

Hannan Meats was formed in 1992 by Mr Hannan to supply quality meat to hotels, restaurants and other outlets in Northern Ireland. It moved into bacon and pork products when it acquired Moyallon, another award winning Northern Ireland business specialising in dry curing techniques. Hannan Meats has won a series of UK Great Taste Awards for its bacon chops and sausages.

In addition to bacon and pork products, Hannan Meats has developed a range of dry-aged beef using a unique Himalayan Salt Chamber, the only one of its kind in Europe. The success of its salt-aged beef has led the company to develop a second chamber to increase output five-fold.

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