• Food for Thought Friday: The Bacon Trend

  • by Austin Schachinger

There have been many trends in the history of the United States, and they play a big role in shaping us as a country and as humans in general. From mullets and smoking, to hybrid cars and smartphones, trends have come and gone and have left their mark. But there’s one trend in particular that has been around for a while and just isn’t going away. Bacon.

A Brief History of Bacon
This crazy and unusual trend in breakfast meat can be traced back to the 1980’s and 1990’s, when foods with higher amounts of protein started becoming a popular part of American’s diets. During this time, many people became hungry for a more fatty and great-tasting food after decades dominated by lean meat and healthier diets. As half of the breakfast known as “bacon and eggs”, bacon was considered a fad that would explode into the universe and then quickly die down and hide from society – much like Justin Bieber did for millions of American girls. But, bacon did just the opposite. The emergence of bacon as a trend caused a chain reaction of explosions, causing it to not only become a breakfast food, but now a topping for basically any food item, even sundaes and muffins. Now it has made its way onto clothing, toys, and, yes, even perfumes. Here, we narrow the reasoning for this rather unusually long unusual trend down to three simple categories. Taste and smell, masculinity, and mainstream.

Taste and Smell
Everyone loves waking up in the morning to the smell of bacon. Its smell is so distinct, it can be smelled from long distances and will often linger in your house for the remainder of the day. But the smell is what attracts people to it, the taste of bacon is how it has won the heart of many Americans for the past few decades. It turns out that six ingredient types of umami, translating as “pleasant savory taste” in Japanese, are found in bacon, which is what makes it so addicting. This explains why almost every restaurant today has the option to add bacon as a topping or features more dishes with bacon as a dominant ingredient on their menus. For example, Denny’s introduced and ran a special menu a few years back called Baconalia. Wendy’s has the Baconator, which sold 25 million in its first eight weeks. Little Caesar’s recently introduced a deep dish pizza with a crust lined with three feet of bacon, and now Taco Bell is starting to air commercials promoting their new Bacon Club Chalupa.

Though it was introduced in 2007, Wendy’s still airs commercials for their most popular burger, the Baconator. The commercials have probably changed over the past eight years, but the majority of them involve a strong and deep-voiced male announcer, describing the Baconator like it’s more manly than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. For some unclear reason, even though women like bacon too, it is becoming more frowned upon for men to order a salad when there is a bacon cheeseburger staring them in the face on the menu.

Bacon has become a Mainstream Part of Society
What is mainstream? Mainstream basically consists of popular culture and media culture typically conveyed to people through mass media. Social media, in particular, gives life to mainstream topics as billions of millennials post multiple times per day about such topics as Taylor Swift, Lebron James, and Game of Thrones. With the help of fast-growing social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, people also love to post food that looks appealing and tastes delicious for the whole world to see. Bacon not only smells and tastes amazing, it also looks delicious on almost anything. So why not brag a little to your friends and post a picture of your juicy bacon cheeseburger or bacon-topped pizza on social media? We love bragging about food! Every Friday, we post great recipe ideas and food facts on our blog as part of our “Food for Thought” series.