Why Is Bacon Considered A Breakfast Food?

Sure, everyone knows that bacon and eggs are a traditional breakfast - but why? Listen in to learn how Freud's nephew invented PR and changed the way America eats breakfast.

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Hey internet, it’s me, Ben. Every day before I head into the studio, I have a healthy, hearty breakfast of eggs, coffee and, of course, bacon. Well, that’s not entirely true. Who has their life together enough to eat breakfast every day? That’s crazy talk. Anyway. The point is this:

If you’re in the States, then you already know that bacon is one of the most popular breakfast foods in civilization – right up there with eggs. But this wasn’t always the case.

For much of American history, breakfast would be something simple like a slice of buttered toast with coffee and orange juice. And, believe it or not, there’s one man responsible for changing the way America eats breakfast. His name? Edward Bernays. I know, I know: you’re probably wondering “how could just one guy sway the minds of millions? Wasn’t bacon already around?”

Yes. Bacon, or cured pork, had been around in European cuisine for hundreds and hundreds of years – but it wasn’t thought of as a breakfast food. So in 1925, an outfit named the Beech-Nut Packing Company hired Edward Bernays to boost their bacon sales.

In a “scientific” poll, Bernays had a physician ask 5,000 doctors the same loaded question. Is a “hearty breakfast […] better than a light breakfast to replace energy lost by the body at night”?

Because of the way the poll was phrased, most doctors agreed that a hearty breakfast was superior. Bernays reported these “scientific results” to other doctors across the United States. He also embarked upon a broadcast and print campaign, reporting these results along with advertisements for bacon.

This campaign exhibited some brilliant – if not exactly ethical –- strategies. First, it used the appearance of objective, scientific evidence. Second, this evidence came from trusted authority figures. Third, it sounded like nutritional advice, rather than an ad.

Whether you like bacon or not, you can’t argue with the results. Beech-Nut profits soared, and today bacon is a major breakfast heavy weight. Each year, people consume more than 1.7 billion pounds of this stuff in the States alone – and that’s just counting statistics from the food service industry. A little more than half of all US homes keep bacon on hand at all times.






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