At one time, the bacon set in a grocery store may have lacked versatility, but that is certainly not the case anymore. As consumer preferences shift toward more ethical and unique eating practices, specialty companies like Tender Belly have experienced rapid growth in the market. I recently got in touch with the supplier’s Founder, Shannon Duffy, who took a beat to talk all things bacon.
“It was always part of our growth plan to blow up at retail, but it actually happened quite a bit sooner than we had expected,” he told me. “The spending data that we have shows that we are in the top 10 in the natural channel for bacon, which is truly what my brother and I wanted to happen with our high-quality pork and dry-cured bacon. Even though the cost of the product is more than what people are used to, premium products like ours have started to take hold and become a consumer preference.”
Shannon explained that one of Tender Belly’s key differentiators in the market is the quality of its heritage breed pigs, as well as the sustainability focus from its farmers. The ingredients used across its product portfolio are minimal and always of the highest quality.
Like many others, Tender Belly experienced a surge in brand interaction at retail throughout the pandemic as shoppers searched for high-quality and safe eating experiences. As the brand has continued to gain popularity, Shannon revealed that it introduced a new product on August 1: bacon jam.
“When you're selling a bunch of bacon like we are, you have bacon pieces left over. So, we created a bacon jam, which consumers have used as a condiment on burgers, pizzas, pancakes, or on a charcuterie board,” Shannon said. “It just hit the market with retail and foodservice offerings, and people are loving it.”
On a final note, Shannon emphasized that Tender Belly is here to serve the largest retail and foodservice outlets, backing its partners with a premium supply, Prop 12 benchmarks, and robust manufacturing to meet a much bigger audience than it had just a year ago.
Sounds like a win-win-win to me! Deli Market News will continue giving you an exclusive look at the specialty industry’s supply-side players, so stick with us.