Finnebrogue’s Denis Lynn wins Top Innovation Award for revolutionary nitrite-free Naked Bacon

  • Institute of Directors crown Finnebrogue’s Chairman as Northern Ireland’s most innovative business leader

  • Finnebrogue’s Naked Bacon has revolutionised the processed meat industry and is the UK’s first ever mass-produced bacon made without cancer causing chemicals 

Denis Lynn, Chairman of Downpatrick-based Finnebrogue Artisan, has been awarded Northern Ireland’s business Director of the Year for Innovation for the launch of the company’s revolutionary Naked Bacon.

The award was presented by Northern Ireland’s Institute of Directors at a ceremony held in the Merchant Hotel, Belfast, where winners across 11 categories were announced, each of whom will now be considered for the UK Director of the Year Awards, taking place in London later this year.

The awards honoured directors of private, third and public sector organisations who go above and beyond to show exceptional levels of leadership and motivation and demonstrate good corporate governance.

Finnebrogue’s Naked Bacon is the first mass-produced nitrite-free bacon to be sold in UK supermarkets.

It has been on sale since January and has been hailed by the UK’s top food scientist as a major breakthrough for food safety.

Denis Lynn’s determination to get nitrite-free bacon onto supermarket shelves ensured that Naked Bacon was a ground-breaking first for the UK market, gaining serious independent backing from the UK’s top food scientist – Professor Chris Elliott – and the Chairman of the House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee – Neil Parish MP.

Denis Lynn, chairman of Finnebrogue, commented:

“It was great to be recognised as Northern Ireland’s most innovative director at the IoD’s awards. A lot of hard work has gone into taking delicious nitrite-free bacon from a dream into a reality.  

“While Finnebrogue has been making sausages without nitrites for some time, I was on a mission to find a solution that would take these dangerous chemicals out of bacon and ham.

“We have been overwhelmed by the incredible reaction to Naked Bacon from customers across the country, and I am very proud of my entire company for stepping up to the plate and filling a gaping hole in the UK market.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has previously classified bacon cured with nitrites in the same health risk category as asbestos and smoking cigarettes, because nitrites produce carcinogenic nitrosamines when ingested.

The WHO has estimated that 34,000 bowel and colon cancer deaths per year worldwide are directly attributable to diets high in processed meats – and warns that eating two rashers of nitrite cured bacon per day increases the risk of contracting bowel cancer by 18 per cent.

Finnebrogue worked with a Spanish chemist to develop a new way of flavouring traditional British bacon without nitrites – something that has never been done before. The natural flavour is produced from natural Mediterranean fruit and spice extracts, following ten years of research and development.

The purpose of adding nitrites is to give cured meat its characteristic pink colour, texture, some flavour and also to help as a preservative. The new natural flavouring being used in Naked Bacon has a similar effect, but does not contain the health risks.

In more great news for the UK’s bacon lovers, Finnebrogue’s Naked Bacon has beaten its leading competitors in independent blind taste tests.

It has also had rave reviews since its launch at the beginning of the year. TV presenter Gregg Wallace described it as a “cracking rasher”, Jeremy Clarkson said it is “lovely”, while The Telegraph’s food columnist Xanthe Clay said it’s a “change worth making”.