Given the variety of new bacon products now available to retail outlets and foodservice operators, pork bellies no longer have a corner on the market. A large-scale processor of lamb, Davis, Calif.-based Superior Farms is one of the latest added to the growing list of non-pork species now offering bacon options, joining beef, chicken, turkey and even buffalo.
Superior isn’t the first company to sell lamb bacon, but it is one of the only processors to market its product as Halal certified. Sourced from the breast of the lamb, Anders Hemphill, vice president of marketing and brand strategy, says the new product targets the foodservice segment only and it appeals to chefs’ demand for unique and bold replacements for pork bacon on their menus.
The company offers bellies that are approximately 1 lb. in size and unsliced so it can be used in a variety of dishes.
|Anders Hemphill, vice president of marketing and brand strategy, Superior Farms|
“This gives them the flexibility to slice it at their desired thickness, or dice it,” Hemphill says.
While the lamb bellies are cured and smoked similar to their pork-based counterparts, the difference in the two products stops when it comes to taste. While that taste comes at a price, it costs about 50 percent more than pork bacon, Hemphill says it is well worth it to discerning diners who demand distinct tastes and appreciate a healthier option.
“The flavor of the lamb bacon is fantastic,” she says. “When you bite into it, there is no question you’re eating bacon but with a nice, mild lamb flavor that differentiates it from pork bacon.
“From a nutritional standpoint lamb bacon has fewer calories and less fat than pork bacon with a recommended serving having 80 calories and 8 grams of fat.”
Superior’s foodservice customers have been anything but sheepish about utilizing lamb bacon on menus, mostly as an ingredient used to add new flavors to salads, burgers and more dishes.
“Think about a Greek salad with lamb bacon crumbles or a lamb burger topped with lamb bacon,” Hemphill says. “It is a great way to add the unique flavor of American lamb to so many dishes and help chefs differentiate their menu offerings.”