"Bacon is the poster-food for anti-establishment, anti-health," says Peter Madden, CEO at the brand specialty firm AgileCat. "Given the ever-increasing health-based society we live in, this is a food that says 'we're breaking the rules, health be damned.' "
Last spring, Carl's Jr. took bacon to the max by rolling out the X-Tra Bacon Cheeseburger with four strips of bacon on a char-broiled beef patty, Two summers ago, Burger King even introduced a Bacon Sundae — soft serve drizzled with chocolate fudge, caramel sauce and bacon crumbles.
In 2013, bacon sales climbed 9.5% to an all-time high of nearly $4 billion, reports Information Resources. Bacon sales in the U.S. have increased four consecutive years, says the research specialist.
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Both bacon-laden items are limited time offerings at Red Robin, through Nov. 2.
"Bacon and shakes are part of our DNA," says Ruch, who notes that more weird combos of the two might be coming.
Madden, the brand consultant, has little doubt about that. "The people they want to be attracted to such an item will be drawn to it like pigs to slop."