Do You Know The Differences Between The Three Types Of Ham ?

Published on April 11, 2024

As charcuterie specialists, we are proud to share with you the details of the different types of cooked ham.

The ham.


Ham is the charcuterie name for the hind leg of the pig, which is then prepared. Ham can be raw, dried or cooked. For the cooked ham, regulations differentiate between 3 different qualities:

  • Standard Ham
  • First Choice Ham
  • Superior Ham


What are the differences?


The distinctions between these three types of cooked ham are based on specific criteria, mainly defined by the list of authorized ingredients, including meat quality, level of fat and volume of water used in preparation.


These criteria are detailed in the “Code des Usages de la Charcuterie”, which sets out the rules to be followed before a product can bear its name. So, the differentiation is not in the manufacturing techniques, but rather in the composition.


Superior Ham is distinguished by its high standards of preparation. In fact, its list of authorized ingredients is reduced to guarantee superior quality, unlike First Choice and Standard Ham, for which the criteria are less stringent. For example, the number of authorized additives is limited to 8 for Superior Ham, while it can be as high as 23 and 27 respectively for First Choice and Standard Ham. In fact, the manufacturing standards for Superior Ham exclude the use of additives such as flavor enhancers, gelling agents, phosphates or colorants, which are often present in First Choice or Standard Ham.


Another aspect that distinguishes the different types of ham is the amount of sugar allowed in their composition. In Superior Ham, for example, the accepted percentage of sugar is limited to 0.5%, which reinforces its quality level. On the other hand, in the case of First Choice and Standard Ham, this percentage can be as high as 2% and 3% respectively, making the latter the lowest quality of the three types.


These products can also be distinguished visually. In this respect, Superior Ham stands out from the other two types. It features several clearly recognizable nuts, while the others generally have a uniform, more “mixed” visual.


Our ham offer at André Bazin.


At André Bazin, we're committed to providing our customers with quality service. That's why, thanks to the work of all our teams, we're able to offer a wide range of hams that can be adapted to meet demand, even for fairly small volumes. We offer a wide range of alternatives in the design of our products, including our 3 “clean”, nitrite-free versions. We also offer several recipes and cuts (stamps, cubes, Small bacon dices, slices or chips) to meet each of our customers' requirements.


What's more, our commitment to nutritional quality translates into an allergen- and flavor-enhancer-free site, offering a safe and healthy option for all our customers.


So go ahead, discover our cooked ham range by clicking here.


See our summary infographic below!



Code des Usages de la Charcuterie, de la Salaison et des Conserves de Viandes updated in 2023.

Ifip study “Panorama de la consommation et de la distribution des produits du porc”, 2021.


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