News last update:Feb 25, 2016

UK: Bacon – most popular pork product

Bacon is one of the most versatile ingredients for chefs today and it’s prominence on menus continues to grow. The total market for dishes including bacon grew by 8% between 2010 and 2012 – with restaurants recording the biggest increase of 21.5%.

Yet it is this everyday use that almost downplays the importance of bacon in the kitchen. An ingredient used at breakfast, lunch and dinner; whether in a sandwich, salad, quiche or carbonara, we often fail to appreciate the pleasure from those eating it and the value it delivers to the dish.

This is the verdict from the first BPEX Foodservice Bacon Report, which takes a timely look at bacon and the opportunities to add value to menus in the run up to Bacon Connoisseurs’ Week (18-24 March 2013).

A ubiquitous food, bacon is enjoyed by 70% of diners and a real favourite with men. Taste and provenance is clearly important to bacon consumers, with diners increasingly drawn to the flavour profile of bacon dishes and two thirds interested in having this information more widely displayed in foodservice outlets.

When it comes to quality and provenance, country of origin is a consideration for 28% of diners. What’s more, Farm Assurance labels, including Red Tractor, have a positive influence on purchase with 56% more likely to buy bacon that is labelled as such (51% for Red Tractor). Displaying the Red Tractor logo also appears to add perceived value with 42% prepared to pay more for Red Tractor assured bacon.

BPEX foodservice trade manager, Tony Goodger, said: “This report clearly shows the popularity of quality assured bacon and how customers can be positively influenced by menu descriptions and labelling.

“There are many clues here to improve take up of bacon-dishes further. This is particularly important at a time when bacon – and pork in general – is very much in the headlines thanks to campaigns such as Bacon Connoisseurs Week and ‘Give a Fork about Your Pork’, fronted by Jimmy Doherty.

“Many menus tend to describe the texture of bacon in dish profiles i.e. ‘crispy’ whereas this research tells us that customers are more likely to make a choice on taste. So adding bacon cure taste highlights or offering a choice of bacon from simply smoked or unsmoked to different cures within a breakfast, for example, can entice customers.”
Tony also suggests that caterers explore the wide variety of bacon, livening up menus with a ‘bacon of the month’ offering and emphasise its quality.

“Quality and assurance is crucial when it comes to bacon,” he said. “And nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than at the breakfast occasion, which itself its growing across the leisure channels. But this needn’t come at added expense, as diners have demonstrated they would be willing to opt for streaky rather than back rashers, which allow caterers to derive more value from the dish.

“Bacon is the most popular pork product, so surely it is time we gave it the recognition it deserves by promoting it properly across the foodservice sector. The benefits and rewards in terms of customer satisfaction, loyalty and sales are there for the taking.”

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