U.S. foodservice consumers are smitten by bacon and to show their love they ate some 1.1 billion servings of the “candy of meats” in the year ending April 2014, an increase in servings of 6 percent compared to a year ago, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Many only have eyes for pork bacon, which holds the bulk share of units and dollar volume shipped to restaurants and other foodservice outlets, but bacon varieties, like beef, chicken, duck and turkey are capturing more attention, finds NPD’s SupplyTrack.
The pork bacon category grew in the year ending April 2014 with a 2.3 percent increase in units shipped in spite of dollar volume increases due to higher pork prices, according to SupplyTrack, which tracks every product shipped from a critical mass of leading broadline distributors to each of their foodservice operators. Although bacon types other than pork hold a very small unit share, turkey and chicken realized single-digit unit growth in the year ending April 2014 period while beef bacon units increased by double-digits and duck by triple-digits.
“The growth in bacon consumption at foodservice outlets is reflected in the dollar and unit growth in bacon shipments from the broadline foodservice distributors,” says Annie Roberts, vice president, NPD SupplyTrack. “Among the key drivers of bacon unit growth are more consumers visiting restaurants for breakfast, and new and innovative bacon menu offerings, including new types of bacon.”
Quick service and family dining restaurants represent the largest dollar and unit share of the bacon category, and these two channels increased units and dollar volume shipped compared to a year ago, reports NPD. Units and dollars shipped to some non-commercial foodservice outlets, like preschools and daycare centers, increased by double-digits.
“Beyond the obvious popularity of bacon among restaurant consumers, we’re seeing pockets of opportunity for the bacon category at other foodservice outlets that are less obvious,” says Roberts. “There is definitely room for bacon, in whatever form or type, to grow.”