Consumers Still Have a Love Affair With Bacon
Put it on a burger or serve it with eggs, it’s National Bacon Day. If it seems to you like there’s bacon everywhere you turn, you aren’t imagining it. No longer limited to breakfast menus, bacon is now easily found on fast-food menus across the country, and its flavor appears in everything from mayonnaise to beer and liquor to potato chips and chocolate. Not only do we see an increase in bacon on menus, but we expect to see this trend continue to grow.
There’s no question that consumers love this fatty, flavorful meat. One of the oldest fast-food chains, A&W Restaurants, claims to have invented the bacon cheeseburger way back in the early 1960s. The restaurant’s chairman, Dale Mulder, made bacon a permanent fixture on the menu in response to customers’ frequent requests to add it to their burgers.
In the last 15 or so years, bacon has achieved a major transformation, changing from a breakfast staple to an all-day option. It’s a go-to choice for restaurants and other food companies to use to jazz up their products. Today, you can find bacon bits on top of salads, whole slices of sizzling bacon wrapped around asparagus, crispy bacon crumbles on top of pizza, and just about every other application you could imagine.
Modern fast-food restaurants are using bacon to tempt customers and add flavor to their regular menu items, as bacon adds so much flavor that not much additional innovation is needed. Special limited-time menu items are the perfect platform for bacon, whether it’s being added to sandwiches, tater tots, or ice cream sundaes. It’s a great way to switch up flavors or complement other flavors, such as in a bacon-truffle-flavored burger. Bacon is also used to justify higher prices, especially when businesses advertise double or triple the normal volume of bacon – and consumers seem to be fine with it. After all, it’s bacon.
The ironic thing about bacon’s relatively recent rise to fame is that it takes place at a time when consumers are more health-conscious than ever. Increasingly, restaurants customers choose low-calorie, less-processed options. Yet, shifting consumer perspectives have not stopped their enduring love of this irresistibly delicious ingredient. That may be partly because people think about health differently depending on whether they are eating at home or in restaurants; they don’t expect purely healthy foods when eating fast-food. It’s viewed as a treat. We think consumers are right – if you’re going to have a treat, make it one as delectable as bacon.