KEYC - KETELSEN REPORT: Growth In Bacon Demand Helping Pork Producers

KETELSEN REPORT: Growth In Bacon Demand Helping Pork Producers

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Once known largely as a breakfast food, bacon has become an ingredient in a wide range of foods from doughnuts and muffins to gourmet recipes.  The increase in bacon demand is good for pork producers.
The popularity of bacon has surged in recent years as consumers have discovered just how versatile and good tasting bacon can be. Back in the day, bacon was seen mainly as a side dish at breakfast to go along with eggs and its popularity with consumers was dropping, but that has certainly changed.  Even gourmet cooks now use bacon in many creative ways for dishes they serve. Dave Preisler is the executive director for Minnesota Pork.
"Bacon has really become the ultimate comfort food. It's got that saltiness to it, a little bit of fat to it and people just plain like it. It's a rare person that doesn't like bacon. And so that's why you're seeing people being inventive with it, whether it's putting it in muffins like we have here or in ice cream, we've got bacon in beer fests that go on across the country, bacon in Bloody Mary's, it's in everything, " said Preisler. 
What many used to consider a one-usage product now is a multi-use meat product, and demand is surging.
It comes back under the value, actually, of pigs. The two cuts of the pig that are the highest value, are the ribs and the belly, and the belly is where bacon comes from. So if we have real good demand for those products, it comes back into what packing companies can pay farmers for their pigs.
At Friesen's Bakery and Bistro in Mankato, bacon is certainly part of their menu. Tony Friesen is the owner.
"I think the bacon niche and the sweet, tanginess of the bacon, the saltiness of it, when you add that to a sweet muffin or a sweet pie or something like that, it really combines the flavors and people get excited for it," said Friesen. 
It wasn't that many years ago that bacon was a product that the industry had to figure out how to get rid of...now the owner of this bakery and bistro says anything you put bacon in seems to sell better.