Contact & FAQS
There are quite a few questions that we often get asked so it’s worth a quick scan of the frequently asked questions below. However if you want to share your love of our products, let us know you’re not happy, stock our products or give us some feedback, then get in touch via the contact us page. We’ll make sure the right one of us in the team helps you out.
Olive are quite high in salt. Why is that?
Olives are inherently salty due to the processes used to produce them. The raw olive once picked from the tree is inedible, so olives are ‘fermented’(a form of pickling) to break down these bitter compounds and preserve the olives to produce the end product we know and love.
Our olives are typically between 3-5% salt. As well as the technical functionality that the salt provides, it is also gives the characteristic taste and texture of the final. We’re always looking at ways to keep salt to a minimum and have done a lot of work on it, but if we reduce the salt much below this it makes the olive taste bitter and the quality isn’t nearly as good.
Olives are part of the Mediterranean diet, which has been associated with good health, based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, cereal grains, olive oil and fish. Just remember to stick to a specified portion of olives to make sure you don’t exceed the daily recommended amount of salt.
Why must your olives be eaten within 2-3 days of opening, we know they last longer?
At unearthed®, we want you to experience our products at their optimal quality, which is why we provide directions as to how many days after opening they should be eaten.
Our olives are packed in a low oxygen environment. While the pack is being sealed, oxygen is removed and this is replaced with nitrogen and carbon dioxide. This maintains the freshness of the product throughout its shelf life. Once the pack has been opened, this leads to the ingress of oxygen and over time, the product will start to spoil.
Following organoleptic testing we currently recommend that the products are eaten within 2 days of opening. These are the same instructions as those found on Waitrose own-label chilled olive products. Due to the nature of these products, we know that, particularly in the summer, customers take products from the fridge to consume during a ‘grazing’ occasion, sometimes for long periods at a time, then return the part-empty pot to the fridge. We know that this accelerates product spoilage so we have historically tried to account for worst case scenarios.
In an effort to help customers reduce food waste, we are actually commencing some work to review whether it will be possible to increase the number of days of open life on any of our products. If the work demonstrates that it is possible then packaging will gradually be amended over the next 12 months.
What does PGI or PDO mean, after some of the product names?
Some of our products have an abbreviation after their title, or a sticker on the pack – but what does that mean? Basically it assures you that the products are authentic because of where or how they are produced. The two most common are:
PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) for products which are produced, processed and prepared in a given geographical area using recognised methods or skills. One example of this is the Piacenza Two Cured Meats Platter.
PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) for products which are linked to a geographical area where at least one of the production, processing or preparation steps has taken place. For example Speck Aldo Adige P.G.I, or Bresaola Della Valtelina P.G.I.
Why is the cheese you use not vegetarian?
The aim of unearthed® is to source authentic products and ingredients, however this does restrict us somewhat when it comes to vegetarian status. Some varieties of cheese such as Parmesan and Grana Padano hold what is known as a PDO (protected designation of origin). This means that in order to be called e.g. Parmesan, they must be made to very prescriptive traditional recipes and methods, and in these cases have to be prepared using animal rennet.
Even without a specific PDO requirement, many continental cheeses are still made using animal rennet, most varieties of Pecorino, Gouda, Ricotta and Provolone for example.
Ricotta is produced using the whey left over from cheese production, so while no rennet is added in the manufacturing process, its vegetarian status will depend on the type of rennet used during the production of the original cheese curds.
Why do some of your products contain additives?
Food additives are only added to our unearthed® products if there is a technical requirement. Otherwise we remove them to make the declaration as clean as possible.
These stop food becoming rancid or changing colour by reducing the chance of fats combining with oxygen, so food remains edible over a longer period. Rosemary, used in a number of our charcuterie products, is a natural antioxidant and has been used for many years to both enhance the flavour and improve keeping quality.
Stabilisers are used to preserve the structure of the food by improving the stability and thickness of the food.
Preservatives are used to keep food safer for longer. Preservatives such as sodium nitrite or potassium nitrite are added to meat products to act as either antimicrobials or antioxidants – or both. This means they inhibit the activity of bacteria (such as clostridium botulinum), moulds and other microorganisms, which would cause food spoilage or illness.
Acidity regulators such as Citric Acid are added to change or maintain pH. Controlling the pH of the product helps prevent growth of undesirable bacteria within the food, which could cause illness.
How much fat/salt, how many calories?
Nutritional information for every product can be found on their individual product pages here.
Why is dextrose added to some of your products?
Dextrose is used in the manufacturing of a range of foods. In cured meat products, it helps the fermentation process by supplying an energy source for the lactic acid cultures to act upon. Whether milk powder is added to a product depends on the type of process, as well as the flavour and texture required in the finished product. Dextrose is also used in baked goods to promote browning.
Why do some of your meat products contain milk?
In some cured meat products, milk powder can be used to aid the fermentation process. This is because the sugars within it (lactose) are an energy source for the lactic acid cultures to act upon. Whether milk powder is added to a product depends on the type of process, as well as the flavour and texture required in the finished product.
Does my unearthed® product contain nuts/milk/egg?
For allergy information, please consult the individual product pages which can be found here. Allergens are now listed in bold, as per labelling legislation, as well as additional product warnings.
Why do you not use separators in some of your cured meat (Prosciutto/Serrano/Jamón Ibérico) lines?
We want to keep packaging to a minimum and the separators will obviously increase this. Some people also find it an irritation as it’s another thing to throw away. In addition customers would have to pay more for the product as there is a cost implication with including sheets. So we’ve taken a decision not to include them, but we are aware it’s a bit of a divisive issue.
However we have switched to ridged-bottom packaging, to enable customers to take the slices out more easily.
Sept 2016 – we have now introduced separators into our Serrano packs
If you take your Prosciutto / Serrano or Jamón Ibérico out of the fridge 15 minutes before you plan to serve it you’ll find it much easier to remove the slices from the pack and this will also allow the flavour of the meat to develop.
How can the percentage (%) of meat ingredients in your products exceed 100%
We understand why this is confusing and can seem illogical when you first look at it.
But the percentages are actually correct, and in accordance with legislation regarding declaration of meat quantity. The meat content labelled may exceed 100% when the weight of meat used exceeds the total weight of the product after it has been made, sometimes including a cooking or drying process which reduces water content.
For example 130g of fresh pork may be used to make a chorizo, but during the fermentation and drying process, approximately 25-30% of the moisture is lost – so the finished product may only weigh 100g.
Are unearthed® products free-range / organic?
Although our meat comes from farms which comply with EU directives in terms of animal welfare and conditions etc, it isn’t free-range or organic, no.
That said, we do use free-range eggs in our Spanish Omelettes and our Jamón Ibérico Cebu comes from lovely free-range pigs.
We do sell 4 organic lines, which can be bought via Abel & Cole.
Can I freeze my unearthed® product?
As our products are all sold chilled, we’ve only assessed the quality and shelf life of the product at chilled temperatures. We don’t recommend you freeze our products, as it may alter the quality and shelf life of the product and we don’t want anything to affect the quality you’ve come to expect from our brand.