Meat & Livestock News

Bacon Market Dynamics: Navigating Inflation and Consumer Trends in 2023

Many smoked sausages hanging on

In 2023, the bacon category in the American meat market continues to adapt to the challenges posed by inflation and its impact on consumer purchasing habits.

According to recent data from Circana OmniMarket Integrated Fresh, a market research firm based in Chicago, bacon sales reached $5.96 billion over 52 weeks ending August 13, with volume sales exceeding 958 million lbs.

Sales Performance and Retail Strategies:

Anne-Marie Roerink, principal at 210 Analytics LLC in San Antonio, Texas, describes the performance of bacon in 2023 as complex. In the second quarter, unit sales rose by 2% and pound sales by 4%, attributed to deflation that brought back consumers who had previously left the category due to high prices.

Despite this increase in volume, a 14.2% deflation in prices led to a 10.8% decrease in dollar sales compared to the previous year. Retailers have shown a keen interest in promoting bacon, with over 45% of bacon dollars being promoted in 2023, a significant increase from 34% in the previous year. Additionally, retailers are now carrying about 37 different bacon items weekly, up from 2022.

Consumer Preferences and Dietary Trends:

Despite the emergence of new diets, bacon remains a popular choice. Roerink notes a shift from restrictive diets to a focus on balance and moderation, with continued emphasis on protein and carb avoidance. This has led to the development of keto and paleo-friendly bacon options, often featuring dietary approval seals. Bacon’s emotional appeal, associated with family breakfasts and its enticing aroma, also plays a role in its enduring popularity.

Innovations in Bacon Packaging and Flavors:

The industry has seen significant changes in bacon packaging and variety. The craft bacon scene has expanded, introducing intriguing new flavours, thicker cuts, and pre-smoked or cooked options suitable for snacking.

Retailers are leveraging bacon’s high household penetration and potential for upselling, particularly in combination with premium cuts like filet mignon. Roerink also highlights the trend of combining bacon with other meats and vegetables, such as peppers and mushrooms.

Innovative flavour profiles are emerging, with Roerink mentioning options like ranch-flavoured, double-smoked, and jalapeno-spicy bacon. These unique flavours are akin to limited-time offers in restaurants, drawing consumer interest and enhancing visibility in the category.