Breakthrough could make bacon healthier for you

News that one of our favourite bad foods is getting a healthy makeover might just be the best start to the New Year for many breakfast lovers.

British food manufacturers claim they've cracked the secret to making bacon that's almost good for you and butchers here are catching on to the bacon breakthrough.

Bacon has been given a bad rap recently, with the sizzling slices of deliciousness likened to cigarette smoking and asbestos.

Nitrates that are added when curing bacon to kill bacteria have been found to increase the risk of bowel cancer. But in these health conscious times, things are changing.

"We've got a few recipes up our sleeves we'll bring in the New Year, going back to traditional styles like using celery salt as a natural preserver," Pirie's Butchery's Phil Pirie told Newshub.

Going nitrate-free means curing meat will take a bit longer. The healthier process will take around four to five days extra, so expect to pay the price.

"It is a little more expensive because being the dry-cured bacon, you don't have your fluids in the meat," Pokeno Bacon's Kerry Dufty said.

"So they're a lot lighter per kilo, so the price does go up a little bit."

Food Safe New Zealand rules allow up to125 milligrams of nitrates per kilo of bacon.

At Pokeno Bacon in Mercer they use less than 10 percent of that and are planning on reducing it even further.

"We've got a couple of no-nitrate recipes that we are experimenting with at the moment and we're just trying to get the flavour to be similar," Mr Dufty said.

Pirie Butchery in Auckland's Mt Eden are trialling nitrate-free bacon too and say the flavour doesn't suffer.

"I think personally it tastes amazing, even more so than our nitrate bacon," Mr Pirie said.

No-nitrate bacon will be bacon, but not as we know it.

"It does look very different visually because you don't have that unique brightness, that pink glow, because of the sulphites and the nitrates that are in the bacon," Mr Pirie said.

"It's more of a greyish tinge - but don't let looks put you off."

For most of the bacon fans Newshub spoke to, they'll still be keen on it for breakfast so long as it tastes as good.