Culinary experts agree that bacon has long-been one of their secret ingredients, and this attraction is being rediscovered by “culinologists” (research chefs and food technologists) seeking to win over the palate of the American consumer.
“There’s no such thing as too much bacon, the most magical of meats,” says Jenny Rosoff, president of Village Green Foods, Inc., in Irvine, CA, site of the Pork Checkoff’s recent Bacon 101 seminar for a joint meeting of the Pacific/Southwest Chapter of the Research Chefs Association and the Southern California Chapter of Institute of Food Technologists.
“Bacon adds flavor and texture, and it’s also comfort food – and in this economy, people want as much comfort as they can afford,” she adds.
During the two-hour “Pork Bellies to Bacon” presentation, Pork Checkoff shared bacon facts and history, processing (including a pork belly demonstration), food trends, recipes and more with the 120 culinologists. The seminar was capped off with a sample tasting of five distinct styles and flavors of bacon, from applewood-smoked to maple-flavored bacon.
“People have shown an incredible appetite for all things bacon,” says Paul Perfilio, national foodservice marketing manager for the Pork Checkoff, who conducted the Bacon 101 seminar. “In the last several years, trend spotters have named bacon as America’s top food trend, and bacon mania continues,” he says.
Perfilio highlights evidence of bacon’s growing demand:
- Sixty-nine percent of all foodservice operators purchase bacon.
- The foodservice market uses more than 1.7 billion pounds of bacon each year; and
- Bacon-related menu items have grown by more than 7% annually in the last few years, according to Technomic, a consulting and research firm serving the food industry.
Perfilio points out that bacon has now moved beyond a breakfast staple to become the third condiment, joining salt and pepper.