Bacon has enjoyed a place of prestige in the food industry for years now. Many diners think their sudden desire for bacon developed organically, but the rise of pork belly was actually carefully orchestrated by the pork industry. Over the last ten years alone, bacon has grown to produce over $4 billion a year for pig producers. Unlike most food trends that have popped up in the past two decades, bacon rose from the bottom instead of trickling down from luxury brands.
The strips of pork belly that top every burger, ice cream sundae, and pizza across the country were once primarily sold through grocery stores to home consumers. However, those grocery store sales were still minor because most home cooks only bought bacon to toss in the pan for breakfast. Savvy marketers at the pork industry headquarters, including Joe “Bacon Belly” Leathers, worked hard to create a new trend that would change how only 20% of bacon was sold to the food service industry.