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What's up with the Nitrates??

A message from the owner, Brianna

Ever since I started learning about meat I have been on a crusade against added crap in our food. Especially on processed food packaging; there are more ingredients in the meat to manipulate the meat then there are to actually flavour the meat.

Back in the spring we got a smoker and started dipping our toes more in the land of cooked or Ready to Eat food. Cooking meat is interesting because it can prolong the shelf life of something that needs to get used up, but also, once it’s cooked it has a definitive amount of time that it needs to get consumed by.

For months we tested and prepped, took notes and tested again and again and there are a few hurdles we’ve hit and a few lessons we’ve learned.

  1. We don’t have enough sales on a weekly basis to make batches large enough to justify the cost of production. Although we are a POPULAR business we don’t have a line up out the door every day and our client base is rather small. We do not sell enough product on a regular basis to justify the production expense. Making 10 different 5 pound batches of product is not financially feasible. Food service is all about minimizing production costs and it costs basically the same amount of time to make 5 lbs as it does 20 lbs; but 5 lbs doesn’t pay the bills. It’s only really the last couple pounds of a 20 pound batch that make a product lucrative. If you don’t have products on a regular basis, people stop coming. It’s a balancing act, and given inflation, wages, and minimal staff the balance is off.

  2. Nitrates change the texture of the product. Pepperoni is a product that people, ESPECIALLY in Halifax have an opinion on. And texture is part of the appeal to the product. We tried a dozen different techniques including milk powder, textures, and whipping. The nitrate sample won every time hands down.

  3. Pepperoni is a low cost item. We all love pepperoni but we aren’t going to pay too much for it. We all expect pepperoni to be cheap. Since here at Vessel we aren’t going to cut the quality of the ingredients going into the product so we have to find that balance somehow. We want to create products that people can enjoy and when it comes to financial feasibility pepperoni needs to be a cost effective product.

  4. You can minimize the amount of nitrates that go into a product. The more nitrates in the meat the longer the shelf life. We can minimize the nitrates going into the product to extend the shelf life and texture without making it last for months.


Just because we are using nitrates in this product doesn’t mean we will be using them in every product.

 Although the nature of our values system has always made our product a higher price point the problems we have going on here nationally have made our products financially unattainable for a lot of households. And that is not what I built this business for. I am deeply troubled every day about the people in our community who can no longer afford our products. Every day I find my thought process shifting from how can I make this the best it can be, to how can I make this more attainable to people. And I honestly have no idea what the answer is or where the balance of that is. Now more than ever we need to support local farmers to make sure they are around in the future and now more than ever local food is unattainable for people. What I do know is that I’m not going to stop trying to figure the answers to these questions out and I’m not going to start cutting on quality so we can jack up profits. As we struggle through this “last stage capitalism” we are dealing with food scarcity problems I thought I would be dealing with in 30 years, basically overnight. We will continue to be transparent and honest about the decisions being made around the food we are selling and giving you all the information so you can make the best decision for you and your family.

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