Subtle difference between the popular types of beef spread

Bingham's Foods' Richard Bradley with a tray of beef.
Bingham's Foods' Richard Bradley with a tray of beef.
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Potted beef or beef spread – what’s the difference?

Bingham’s Potted Beef is made from beef and seasoning, while beef spread also contains rusk, which makes it easier to spread.

The beef is fresh, not frozen, comes from the forequarter and flank, has been boned before being sent to Binghams and is traceable back to the individual animal, underpinning the company’s unbroken food hygiene record.

At Binghams the beef is cooked slowly in a special oven before the stock is drained off and the beef is seasoned and minced. The minced beef and stock is then put into a high speed blender.

Nowadays, Bingham’s also pasturises its products, which has extended their shelf life from the 10 days of 20 years ago to three weeks – an important improvement for products that are sold fresh or chilled. Binghams also makes a beef and tomato spread, which is particularly smooth and easy to spread, thanks to the addition of tomato paste and a salmon spread, made using wild Pacific pink salmon. For people living in Scotland, the company makes traditional “Potted Hough,” made from slow roasted Scottish shin beef.

Originally, Bingham’s potted beef would have been sold in returnable ceramic dishes. Today, its products are sold to the consumer in 100g cartons and to delicatessens in 500g and 1kg containers.

Bingham’s says the traditional way of selling potted beef loose is making a comeback in some supermarkets and delicatessens, particularly when the delicatessen also uses potted beef from the larger containers to make its own sandwiches. Growing demand has mean Binghams has increased the number of production runs at its Crookes factory from three to five a day.

“Staff are always finding ingenious ways of increasing capacity, because we are limited physically by the site,” says Peter Moon.

“We are also working smarter with the people we have.

“We have got a great team here, most of them with 10 years service, or more. They know exactly what to do to work effectively as a team and to find efficiencies and, because we don’t have staff coming and going all the time, we can keep on top of training.

“Change is probably more a process of evolution than revolution here. There are opportunities for new product development and I think there are opportunities for the Binghams brand to stretch into other product categories.”