Sizzling news: Bacon is recession-proof

Seems our love for bacon is strong enough to withstand this recession. The savory treat is predicted to be just as popular in 2010 as restaurants find more creative uses for the crispy treat.

According to a trends report from J. Walter Thompson, bacon is one of the top five trends to watch in the coming year. The others are organic fast food, wine cocktails, a backlash against healthy food claims, and sardines. Yes, sardines. JWT predicts the smelly little fish will be the new tuna.

Bacon has been exceptionally popular for a while now as oddities like bacon ice-cream and bacon chocolate have captured our attention. Not only does bacon smell and taste great, but it triggers a nostalgic reaction that is comforting, especially in difficult times. But how many more ways can chefs find to use bacon?

"Bacon ice cream is already passe," says restaurant consultant Jason Chan, president of Chan Can Consulting. "Look for chocolate covered bacon garnishes in desserts, and bacon powder instead of salt for seasoning food and used on the rims of glasses for drinks."

There really does seem to be no end in sight for the bacon boom. According to Burger Business, a web site catering to those in the hamburger trade, the use of bacon has been steadily climbing for several years. Research by Chicago-based researcher Mintel shows the number of menu items that include bacon are up 26.5% since 2005.

And the bacon trend shows little sign of slowing. "Bacon will never be (just) a trend," says Chan. "Bacon is the candy bar of meat."
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