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Whole Foods adds a new plant-based bacon

Hooray bacon sets a new high-water mark for bacon without the pig.

Brian Cooley Editor at Large
Brian Cooley is CNET's Editor at large and has been with the brand since 1995. He currently focuses on electrification of vehicles but also follows the big trends in smart home, digital healthcare, 5G, the future of food, and augmented & virtual realities. Cooley is a sought after presenter by brands and their agencies when they want to understand how consumers react to new technologies. He has been a regular featured speaker at CES, Cannes Lions, Advertising Week and The PHM HealthFront™. He was born and raised in Silicon Valley when Apple's campus was mostly apricots.
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Brian Cooley
2 min read
Hooray bacon
Hooray Foods

People are weird about bacon. They wear shoes proclaiming it, wave it in vegans' faces to taunt them, and put their beer down to fight over it. 

Bacon shoe

Few foods earn this kind of fanaticism.

Claymation

So it's notable when picky Whole Foods decides to carry a new plant-based bacon, which it announced in 300 of its storesHooray bacon is made primarily from coconut oil, rice flour, tapioca starch, liquid smoke, mushrooms, salt, maple syrup and beet juice. That may not sound promising, but, like many plant based meats, an unlikely list of ingredients comes together into a surprisingly good analog. 

Hooray bacon BLT

Nestled into a BLT, Hooray bacon comes much closer to conventional bacon than efforts before it.

Hooray Foods

Most plant-based bacon has the texture of a smoked tongue depressor that shatters when you chew it, but Hooray makes major progress toward matching the chewiness, oiliness and rustic irregularity of conventional bacon. More importantly, it replicates the addictive savoriness that makes one wonder if bacon should be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as a Schedule I drug.

Hooray bacon vs. Oscar Mayer bacon

Hooray bacon (15g serving)Oscar Mayer bacon (per 15g)
Calories 6071
Sodium 270mg276mg
Saturated Fat 3.0g2.0g
Cholesterol 0mg5.5mg
Carbohydrates 6g0g
Sugars 1g0g
Protein 0g5.5g

Hooray bacon isn't exactly health food, but if you're worried about cholesterol and animal abuse, it has none, and the company claims its production generates 80% fewer greenhouse gases. Beyond that, it's a mixed bag: Compared with a common Oscar Mayer bacon, a 15-gram serving boasts fewer calories and no cholesterol but has no protein and six grams of carbs. Both are sodium bombs.

Hooray bacon close up

Bacon is an irrational food, so the goal of a plant-based version is to replicate its hypnotic taste appeal. Hooray comes closer that you probably thought possible.

Hooray Foods

Eaten by itself, Hooray bacon can't yet mimic pig bacon to the degree Impossible Foods or Beyond Meat do a cow burger, but I've sampled it a couple of times and it stands apart. Bacon isn't a center-of-the-plate food (much to your cardiologist's relief), so layered into a BLT or a burger Hooray bacon is close enough to satisfy. And like all plant-based food makers, this four-person startup in San Francisco should have a lot of headroom to quickly rev the product.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.