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Stephanie Casstevens

By: Stephanie Casstevens on August 18th, 2016

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DataBite: Bringing Home the Bacon


Bacon. It’s almost always on my shopping list, and I’m not the only one. In fact, 80.6% of American households used bacon in 2015 (Statista). As someone who owns a pig-shaped, cast iron bacon press, I was obviously excited to hear that Saturday, July 20th is Bacon Lovers’ Day. There’s just something great about waking up to the sizzling sound of bacon being fried. And whether you like your bacon in the morning with eggs, in the afternoon on a nice BLT sandwich, or maybe even for dessert on a maple-bacon cupcake, the world has created a bacon dish for you.


Bacon Me Back in Time

Bacon is one of the oldest processed meats in history. In as early as 1500 BC, the Chinese began salting pork bellies to make the first bacon. In 1924, Oscar Mayer patented the first packed, sliced bacon. Now, bacon can be found in nearly every aisle of a grocery store (looking at you, weird bacon candle). In addition to foods, bacon is now being infused into beers, vodka and bourbon. When it comes to sliced, packaged bacon, private label bacon is the number one choice by consumers beating out large, popular brands. Whether it’s a bacon cheeseburger pizza or a some bacon-bourbon ice cream, bacon can be found all over our grocery stores.

Bacon, as Far as the Eye Can See

You can find bacon in just about anything these days. From the wonderful invention of bacon donuts to the unnecessary (and impractical) bacon underwear, bacon abounds. I was even given some bacon lip balm as a gift once; though I’d say stick to the real thing. But while bacon’s internet fame may have died down, we’re still consuming plenty of the delicious ingredient. Each year, more than 1.7 billion lbs of bacon is consumed in the US alone.

11182082_10205956863513183_8910758135470089135_n.jpgWhat else can we put bacon in?

There are just over 2,000 bacon products or products containing bacon in our database. About half are not even packaged, sliced bacon. The nearly 1,000 other products are things that include bacon or bacon flavor such as beans, frozen appetizers, breakfast sandwiches, snacks, soups, and even chocolate. Of the sliced or packaged bacon products, 11% have a “fully cooked” claim including breakfast sandwiches as well as some types of turkey bacon and Canadian bacon (which some would argue isn’t actually bacon at all!). About 40% of the total bacon products in our database are meat products including cold cuts, packaged bacon, and other meats. About 6% are some type of pet food (pets like bacon too!).

It’s clear that consumers love their bacon. However, how do shoppers choose between the many types of bacon available? Well, according to our database, of the nearly 250 sliced pork bacon products, about 7% have reduced sodium and 80% of them are actually considered low cholesterol. This might play into how some people make the choice. However, with flavor options as well as different cuts and thicknesses, there’s a lot to choose from.

On its own, the product data may not explain which attributes drive sales. However, when you layer this with point-of-sale data the story becomes a lot more clear. By having all this information, brands and retailers can more accurately discover exactly what factors are driving performance and see exactly what bacon we bring home and why!

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