Bacon 'flavor' trend keeps rolling

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bacon-flavored jelly beans, gumballs or mints?

Coffee, cupcakes and ice cream?

The list goes on of bacon-flavored wonders, and not every product is food.

A quick Internet tour also introduces us to bacon--flavored dental floss and envelopes.

Joyce Hoppes, in consumer information with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, in Des Moines, says today's fast-moving bacon "craze" has definitely taken hold.

"It's bacon's flavor. People love bacon," she said. "Today's versatility of bacon positions it as no longer just a breakfast food. People have an interest in unusual bacon food items including ice cream dishes and coffee, plus the many fast-food sandwiches."

People are buying more food items with bacon in them and enjoying it, Hoppes said.

"It's a fun and yummy experience for consumers," she said.

As a result, companies are jumping overboard on the bacon craze by adding bacon to many products.

"It's a plus for the pork industry," Hoppes said. "I don't know whether anyone has put the numbers on it but we do know it's definitely moving more pork -- and more pigs."

As to whether or not the bacon foods craze is soon to extend to other pork products, Hoppes said she's sure that will happen.

"I have no other idea, however, what it will be next," she said.

The bacon demand comes, ironically, at a time when some social and other media sources have suggested a global bacon shortage.

The pork industry, however, has refuted these accounts.

The USDA has suggested that despite a small increase in the nation's hog inventory it expects pork supplies to tighten in 2013 due to drops in hog breeding stock and intended farrowing numbers. This was prompted by drought-related livestock feed cost increases.

John Anderson, an American Farm Bureau economist, quoted last week in an Associated Press report of the suggested bacon shortage, agreed that while pork supplies will "decrease slightly" in 2013 concern that consumers will face "widespread shortages" is "really overblown."

Ron Plain, an agricultural economist University of Missouri, Columbia, has suggested the higher feed costs will ultimately be passed on to consumers with a possible 10 percent price increase.