A new 'healthier' bacon that contains much less salt and fat than traditional bacon has been developed by Scottish producers.

The bacon, which has 25% less salt and 20% less fat, has been created as part of a Quality Meat Scotland and meat industry project that aimed to find healthier versions of eight popular Scottish foods, including haggis, sausages and Scotch pies.

The bacon is produced using a wet curing process, under which the meat is cured with the skin intact. The skin absorbs some of the salt, with the salt content then lowered when the skin is removed. Fat is reduced during an extra trimming after curing.

With a salt content of 2.29g per 100g, the bacon falls well inside the FSA's 2012 salt reduction target of 2.88g per 100g. It has a fat content of 12.6g per 100g and just 4.4g of satfat.

The £40,000 Scottish food project involved seven producers, including Vion UK, Scott Bros and Irvine's of Perthshire, with Irvine's moving to switch its entire wet cure bacon range to the new production method on the back of the project. The initiative was match-funded by Scottish Enterprise and developed together with the food innovation team at Abertay University.

Although the bacon is not yet available in stores, QMS and producers held a meeting this week to present the bacon to buyers with a view to rolling it out this year.

QMS has also carried out taste trials of the bacon with schoolchildren, which it claimed had been "very successful".

"By reducing the salt and fat in a number of red meat products, while maintaining exceptional quality, this collaborative project further shows how red meat can be enjoyed as part of a healthy and balanced diet," said NFU Scotland president Jim McLaren.

Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Recently we've seen healthier versions of burgers, sausages and Scotch pie being produced by the sector as it responds to consumer demand for healthier food choices as part of a balanced diet."