|October 1, 2008 • Volume 22, Number 16 • http://www.foodchannel.com|
IN THIS EDITION
Should Everything Taste Like… Bacon?
Looking for a vegetarian, kosher way to enjoy the flavor of bacon? Who isn’t! With zero fat, zero calories, and relatively little sodium (< 140 mg per serving), Bacon Salt might be your new favorite condiment. Bacon Salt is a new seasoning that gives bacon flavor to other foods. Seriously, any other foods can and will taste like bacon with a sprinkle or two of this stuff.
While it’s the punch line to more than a few jokes and comic strips lately (see the strip Frog Applause from last month), it’s an absolutely legitimate product, getting rave reviews from a growing and self-described “fanatical” fan base. Every day, people and foodservice professionals alike are embracing the company’s tagline, “Bacon Salt™—because everything should taste like bacon,” and adding it to a wide variety of foods. We did an interview with them earlier this year. (Check out the story at our website). Even nonfoodies love the product. PC Gamer listed it as Wonder Gear of the Month in an issue last fall. The WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) featured it in the pages of its mostly-for-men magazine, calling it a marriage of “the two flavors men love most.” Online food sites and bloggers such as HungryGirl.com, Daily Candy and Slashfood are developing recipes using the product. Even some print newspapers are getting in on the deal, such as the Seattle Examiner.
One of the most intriguing things about the product is that in just over a year, it has garnered nearly $500,000 in gross sales strictly with word-of-mouth advertising. In particular its Facebook and MySpace groups have become full of user-generated content. Take a look at Bacon Salt: The Movie to get a quick picture of how people feel about this up-and-coming product.
The hosts and chefs come from a variety of backgrounds; some are hospitality professionals working in someone else’s kitchen as their “real job” and running their own underground restaurants on the side. Others come from a variety of backgrounds—advertising executives, school teachers. One particularly passionate foodie, Bryan Zupon, started his own restaurant out of his campus apartment at Duke University in Durham, N.C. (see last year’s full story in the New York Times).
Here’s the company’s description of the product from its Facebook Group.
“Bacon Salt comes in 4 flavors—Original, Hickory, Peppered and Natural—and is delicious with (but not limited to) scrambled eggs, steak, french fries, hash browns, Bloody Marys, mac-n-cheese, tomato soup, clam chowder, chicken wings, chicken sandwiches, rubber chicken, mayonnaise, buffalo (both water and land), peacock, poppycock, broccoli, sweat socks, mashed potatoes, roast chicken, roasted corn, tuna, jellyfish, jelly donuts, jambalaya, baked potatoes, tofu, popcorn, tequila shots, Tila tequila, dirty martinis, possum, peanut butter, marshmallows, sandals, tadpoles, wood chucks and the future.”
The company developed an array of branded T’s, posters, trucker hats and drink cozies among other products (you can see many of the designs at Zazzle.com). It continues to make the most of “newish” media, including a company blog that’s separate from the website. It also sponsors a sim racing team. (Sim racing is short for “simulated online racing,” which is virtual auto racing complete with cars, broadcasters, and drivers, all competing in real-time on the Internet. Think racing video game goes “almost” real life.) Team Bacon Salt won the Jesus Saves 200 last month.
Part of the appeal of the product is the story of its capitalization. One of the founders seeded the startup with $5,000 he won on America’s Funniest Home Videos. You can see the winning video here. And as we all know, a good cause never hurt a product’s chances of getting mentioned in print, online, or on TV. Operation Bacon Salt is an initiative to provide Bacon Salt to soldiers serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Muslim countries that don’t allow bacon or other pork products. The company sends steady amounts of its product to a rotating group of soldiers. Troops are enjoying bacon salt on their military-issued MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). Anyone can contribute to the effort by donating to the company’s cause. Or if you’d prefer to send it to your favorite soldier overseas, customers can purchase Bacon Salt at a 50% discount when shipping to any military address.
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