Is the Bacon Craze Coming Back?
Or, really, did it ever even leave?
For a long time, bacon seemed like it was everywhere – not just on our breakfast plates and in our sandwiches, but in ourcocktails and cupcakes, pastries and doughnuts, too. Then came speculation that the trend was waning.
“Did we, without even realizing it, reach peak bacon and move into a time of bacon decline?” I wondered in 2017 on this very blog. “Is the bacon trend, once sizzling, now fizzling?”
A report released around that time found that bacon sales in the U.K. had “plummeted.” The status of bacon as a U.S. staple was a bit harder to parse, with some experts suggesting that “stagnant” bacon sales were a result of consumer caution about red meat’s potentially negative affect on their health.
Now, amidst a raging debate about red meat and health, following the release of the results of a controversial new study suggesting that there is no need to cut back on bacon and beef, the industry publication Nation’s Restaurant News hasdeclared, “Americans are still in love with bacon.”
The evidence NRN writer Nancy Kruse cites to back up that bold claim is largely anecdotal: a recitation of chain-restaurant offerings pointing to the salt-cured pork product’s enduring popularity – a bacon burger here, a bacon-infused beverage there.
“Looking ahead, there is little sign of bacon displacement,” Kruse, an Atlanta-based analyst of menu trends, asserts. “Bacon substitutes, notably turkey and beef, haven’t moved beyond niche items, and early reports of a plant-based, vegan-friendly bacon from Beyond Foods may widen that niche, but for most American consumers, the proof is in the pig.”
Added evidence in Kruse’s corner? Ninety-three percent of Americans surveyed in a new YouGov poll said that a breakfast wasn’t hearty unless it featured several strips of bacon. And as an aside, “about seven in 10 (71%) like their bacon to be somewhat (37%) or very (34%) crispy,” the survey concluded. “One in five (20%) prefer their bacon to be a little chewier.”
Interesting info to chew on. And data does point to bacon’s continued world dominance: Global bacon sales are predictedto grow by 4.17 percent between 2019 and 2024, with North America continuing its spot as bacon’s largest market, according to the market research firm Mordor Intelligence.
Hard to imagine Americans could love bacon any more than they already do, but there you have it.