Bacon Flavor Insight

June 27, 2019
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You’ve heard the phrase, “Everything’s better with bacon.” That motto has equaled opportunity for product developers in recent years, and influenced its steady increase in popularity (with 200% growth in social mentions since 2015, and 97% positive perception). The flavor is intense and complex, with more than 150 chemical compounds in its natural forms. Bacon has an interesting role in our current consumer outlook, both in the growing interest in fats (as fueled by the keto diet); and in the plant-based movement. Plant-based might seem an unusual connection for bacon – but as meat alternatives grow in popularity, more vegetarian options feature the taste of bacon (no actual meat required.) Let’s take a closer look at the uses of bacon on menus, social media mentions, and global new products.

Bacon Overview

We conducted a social listening analysis on bacon covering the past 6 months. An overview is provided below. Bacon enjoys 97% positive perception.

  • 102 mentions per minute

  • 70% male - key consumer voice

  • Popular hashtags: #bbq #breakfast #keto #brewery

  • Key consumer interests:

    1. Food & Drink

    2. Desserts & Baking

    3. Pop Culture

  • When asked about their perception, consumers polled view bacon flavored products as both filling and unique.

On Genius Kitchen, formerly, 4,572 recipes appear when you search for bacon. Recipes include bacon gravy, bacon stuffed pork, bacon empanadas, bacon chocolate chip cookies, and bacon maple ice cream.

Hot Bacon Vinaigrette Dressing

The December 2018 newsletter from Foodie with Family features a recipe for a hot bacon vinaigrette dressing. This can be poured hot over vegetables like brussels sprouts or warm over a spinach salad, but can also be served at room temperature. Add Dijon mustard, maple syrup, or honey for a twist.

Bacon on the Menu: Q4 2017-Q4 2018

2,850 Bacon mentions on the menu

Casual dining is the top restaurant segment, with entrée, sandwich and appetizer as the top three menu sections with the most bacon-flavored items. Entrées account for 33% of all bacon flavored menu items.

Bacon Lovers Lobster Roll is offered at BarBacon restaurant located in New York. The dish mixes Maine lobster with bacon lardons and chive mayo on a brioche bun.
Stuffed Medjool Dates are served at The Patio Restaurant & Bar at the Hills in Yuma, Arizona. Medjool dates are a regional specialty item that locals combine with bacon, blue cheese and chipotle sauce.
Brown Butter Candied Bacon Ice Cream is a specialty dessert that was created by Coolhaus ice creamery in Culver City, California. A base of brown butter ice cream and mixed in brown sugar candied applewood bacon is paired with a warm chocolate chip cookie.
Bacon-Wrapped Peaches are served at The Pig in Washington D.C. This dish features peaches wrapped in bacon and coated in rosemary-maple syrup, topped with feta cheese and pistachio.

Bacon Global New Product Introductions: 2018-2019

900 product introductions featuring Bacon


  • Europe is the top global region for bacon new product introductions with 43% of all new products.

  • Prepared meals is the top subcategory globally for bacon flavored new products.

  • Cheese is one of the top flavors paired with bacon.

Top Bacon Product Categories

  1. Meals & Meal Centers

  2. Snacks

  3. Processed Fish, Meat & Egg Products

  4. Sauces & Seasonings

  5. Side Dishes

Product Examples:

Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup Potato Chips: These traditional chips from Kettle Foods company are said to be hand cooked with care in small batches and seasoned with real food flavors with no artificial colors. They are sliced thicker for a unique crunch and cooked in sunflower oil. This product is available in the UK, Greece, and New Zealand.

60% of consumers polled said they would possibly buy this product, significantly outperforming its subcategory.

Maple & Bacon Popcorn: Post Consumer Products introduced this product to the market to celebrate national cereal day in April. It’s said to combine sweet and savory in an intense to create a unique breakfast experience.

29% of consumers polled said they'd possibly buy this product, under performing against its subcategory product.

Continental Pumpkin, Bacon and Sour Cream Risotto: This product from Unilever has been made with New Zealand grown pumpkins and bacon and sour cream flavoring. This is a dry packaged, microwavable dinner product. This is available for purchase in Australia.

Bacon North America New Product Introductions: 2017-2019

332 Product introductions featuring bacon.


  • North America accounts for 23% of all bacon flavored new product introductions in North America.

  • Prepared meals is the top product sub-category for bacon flavored new products.

  • Cheese is the top flavor paired with bacon.

Top 5 North American Bacon Product Categories

  1. Meals & Meal Centers

  2. Snacks

  3. Processed Fish, Meat & Egg Products

  4. Sauces & Seasonings

  5. Side Dishes

Product Examples:

Maple Bacon Donuts Cereal: Post consumer products introduced this product to the market to celebrate national cereal day in April. This combines sweet and savory in an intense flavored cereal that creates a unique breakfast experience. USA

29% of consumers polled said they’d possibly buy this product, under performing against subcategory.

Cheesy Smoked Bacon Dressing This product is available from Twisted Ranch and is said to be inspired by mac ‘n’ cheese. It can be served as a cheese sauce, used as a salad dressing, or even as a main component in grilled cheese. USA

39% of consumers polled said they’d possibly buy this product, outperforming against subcategory.

Gone Rogue Chicken Bacon High Protein Chips: These chips are made using a quality cut of cured chicken with a dried natural smoke flavor added and bacon style seasoning.

24% of consumers polled said they’d possibly buy this product, under performing against subcategory.

The Takeaways

While main dishes, meat products and snacks remain the primary beneficiary of the complex flavor of bacon, new categories such as sugar confectionery and desserts are beginning to emerge and push the expected boundaries of the flavor with new product introductions increasing rapidly. Add to all of this, keto and increased interest in fat-based products means even greater consumer interest in bacon. Search plant-based bacon and an entire world of new products and recipes opens up -- a world that could mean opportunity for the right bacon-flavored product.

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What does true partnership look like? You deserve a flavor partner ready to turn these trends into the tangible.

Let FONA’s market insight and research experts get to work for you. Translate these trends into bold new ideas for your brand. Increase market share and get to your “what’s next.” Our technical flavor and product development experts are also at your service to help meet the labeling and flavor profile needs for your products to capitalize on this consumer trend. Let’s mesh the complexities of flavor with your brand development, technical requirements and regulatory needs to deliver a complete taste solution.

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Sources in full report