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How Precooked Bacon Changed the Course of the Industry


Bacon isn’t just a food… it’s a lifestyle. It dominates our mental energy, filling us with joy and happiness. When we are not consuming a tender, juicy, crispy, scrumptious strip of bacon, we are daydreaming and reading about it. But how did we get to a place in society where this was possible? Who do we owe a thank you and a cheers at our next bacon-filled meal?

The answer lies in the history pages with two men by the names of Tom Bush and Mark Schweiger. These two men, heroes, are responsible for precooked bacon and, in-turn, the ease in which you can devour your tasteful best friend.

As the legend goes, Mr. Bush and Mr. Schweiger, who were brand managers, approached their bosses at Oscar Mayer with an idea. They wanted to sell the same precooked bacon that shipped to restaurants to general consumers. They believed, and were ultimately correct, that there was a large market for this type of bacon consumption. Unfortunately, their superiors at Oscar Mayer did not feel this was a good venture and refused to pursue it. What happened next would change the path of bacon forever.

These two masters of innovation decided to follow the American way and do it themselves. Together, they created Seven Hungry Kids Foods (SHK) and began shipping precooked bacon to grocery stores in 1995. However, they were faced with low sales fairly quickly. Instead of giving up, they changed their strategy.

They realized they needed to get as much product floor space as possible in order to introduce it to consumers. Overnight sales began to rise and before long the two men were doing around $30 million. After this, they sold their company to ConAgra. Now, precooked bacon accounts for $400 million of the $4 billion bacon industry. So, next time you are eating bacon on your way to work, take a second to thank the men who gave you the ability.


 
This article was adapted from the Chicago Sun-Times.

 

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