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Bacon jam, baconnaise, bacon ketchup?

(L-R) Big Smoke BBQ’s Mike Jeffries, Wendy’s CEO Danielle Lendich and Wild Country’s Angelique van Camp.

Ever heard of bacon jam, baconnaise and bacon ketchup? Popular in the United States and with several New Zealand companies now offering bacon spreads, such products are being snapped up by those in the know – including locally-owned restaurant chain, Wendy’s.

Wendy’s new Ultimator comes loaded with new bacon jam, baconnaise and bacon ketchup, four strips of thick-cut Manuka smoked streaky bacon, natural Colby cheese and two fresh New Zealand beef patties, all on a toasted Kaiser bun.

Boutique food producers around the country have been working overtime preparing for the bacony burger’s launch with Tauranga’s The Big Smoke BBQ providing their cult bacon jam, Wild Country in Hamilton supplying the innovative baconnaise and bacon ketchup, and award-winning family owned Magills butchery in Te Awamutu the sole suppliers of Wendy’s streaky Manuka smoked bacon. 

First and foremost a “BBQ guy”, The Big Smoke BBQ’s Mike Jeffries started making his own bacon jam after getting his first taste of the spreadable bacon at a BBQ festival in North Carolina. “I love all things barbecue which also means all things bacon, so it got my attention pretty quick. It tasted so good I figured I could find a market back home.”

Featured on TV last year, Jeffries was swamped with interest from the public and media, but a chance viewing by CEO Danielle Lendich saw Wendy’s get in touch about supplying its 23 restaurants.

Jeffries says production has been up 100 percent ahead of the burger’s launch. When asked if he’d tasted the burger yet, Jeffries says he’s made his own version.

 “I snuck into Wendy’s with my bacon jam and spread it on a Baconator! It tasted great so I’m really looking forward to trying the real thing.”

The first to introduce New Zealand to bacon condiments in 2013, Wild Country’s Angelique van Camp says the line sold through gift and specialty food stores such as Farro and Moore Wilson is now a core part of their range.

These days Wild Country produce bacon jam, mayo, ketchup, mustard and aioli, with a sixth product close to launch.

Of the Wendy’s burger, van Camp says as a small batch producer it’s exciting to see their product being showcased on such a mass scale.

A bacon fan herself, Wendy’s CEO Danielle Lendich says bacon burgers are always top sellers – “and this is our most bacony yet. It won’t appeal to everyone but the bacon addicts out there will love it.”

Lendich says as a family-owned business with old fashioned values, Wendy’s sources almost all its ingredients locally. “A number of our suppliers have been with us from the start so nearly 30 years, and we’re probably the only QSR who can work with smaller businesses like these guys as we’re smaller too and our volumes are more manageable.”