Do They Still Make Sizzlean Bacon? A Nostalgic Look at the Lean ’80s Breakfast Strips

For those of us who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, Sizzlean was the low-fat bacon alternative found in many a school lunchbox or weekend breakfast. The meaty breakfast strips offered less fat than regular pork bacon but more flavor than turkey strips. Sizzlean enjoyed strong sales for over 20 years before disappearing in the early 2000s.

So do they still make Sizzlean bacon? Let’s take a nostalgic trip back and find out what happened to this iconic product.

Sizzlean Mania in the ’70s and ’80s

Sizzlean burst onto the scene in 1978 as a new kind of fabricated bacon product made by Swift & Co. It contained finely ground turkey, pork and beef pressed into strips and was marketed as having 50% less fat than pork belly bacon.

The catchy “Don’t bring home the bacon, bring home the Sizzlean!” jingle played endlessly on TV. Health-conscious consumers loved the lower fat and calories compared to regular bacon. An all-beef version also appeared later.

Sizzlean became a pantry staple through the ’80s and ’90s. Its meaty taste and irresistible sizzle made it popular with kids and adults alike.

Fond Memories of Sizzlean’s Taste and Texture

Ask anyone who grew up during Sizzlean’s heyday and you’re likely to trigger happy memories. The taste was smoky, salty, and umami, much like bacon but with a pleasantly chewy jerky-like texture when cooked.

Many preferred Sizzlean’s crisp-chewy consistency over regular bacon’s brittle crunch. The little bubbles of fat that formed reminded kids of popping bubble wrap!

While some consumers disliked the taste most remember it fondly as a satisfying bacon alternative.

When Did Sizzlean Disappear?

Sizzlean remained popular on grocery shelves through the 1990s. Then in the early 2000s, it slowly started disappearing. By 2005, the product was discontinued completely.

So what happened to everyone’s favorite low-fat breakfast bacon? There are several possible reasons Sizzlean met its demise.

Why Sizzlean Was Discontinued

  1. Ownership changes – In 1990, Swift & Co. was acquired by ConAgra. As often happens after an acquisition, ConAgra likely streamlined products to focus on more profitable brands. Niche products like Sizzlean get discarded.

  2. Market share – While Sizzlean maintained good sales, it never grabbed a large share of the bacon market. Niche status made it vulnerable to cuts.

  3. Profit margins – With its more complex manufacturing process, Sizzlean may have become less profitable over time compared to traditional bacon.

  4. Consumer shift – By the 2000s, low-carb diets were gaining ground. People cared less about fat and calories. This reduced the appeal of low-fat breakfast meats.

Will Sizzlean Ever Come Back?

The Sizzlean trademark is still owned by a company that licenses brands. So technically, the name could be resurrected. But would it be the same product?

Likely not. The original equipment used to make those characteristic meaty stripes doesn’t exist anymore. And today’s consumers expect different qualities like organic, grass-fed, or locally sourced.

While a product named Sizzlean could return, it almost certainly won’t resemble the Sizzlean so many fondly remember.

Does Anything Compare to Sizzlean Today?

There are a few bacon alternatives on the market today that aim to capture some of Sizzlean’s appeal:

  • Morningstar Farms Veggie Breakfast Strips – Made from veggies and grains, these mimic bacon flavor and crunch but with less fat.

  • Tofurky Smoky Maple Plant-Based Breakfast Strips – With maple flavor, these get crispy like bacon when cooked but offer a vegan option.

  • Applegate The Great Organic Bacon – A reduced sodium uncured bacon made from organic pork offers a leaner alternative.

  • Hormel Turkey Pepper Bacon – Peppered turkey bacon has a zesty kick but mimics the Sizzlean texture when cooked.

However, for those longing for the exact taste and texture of Sizzlean, nothing today perfectly captures that nostalgic experience.

Can You Make Homemade Sizzlean?

Ambitious cooks have tried creating homemade versions of Sizzlean over the years with varying success. Some options are:

  • Finely chopping turkey, beef, and pork shoulder and forming into thin strips
  • Adding textured vegetable protein (TVP) to lean ground turkey or beef for a meatier chew
  • Buying turkey or beef jerky and cutting into small matchsticks

Results tend to be good flavor-wise but tricky to mimic the crisp texture when cooked. You’d have to finely grind meats and press to achieve the proprietary dense texture Swift perfected.

Sizzlean is Gone But Not Forgotten

While today’s health-conscious consumers can find plenty of low-fat bacon options, nothing perfectly replaces Sizzlean for those feeling nostalgic. The unique meaty taste and bubbly texture when cooked made Sizzlean bacon a beloved icon back in its day.

1985 Sizzlean “Move over Bacon” TV Commercial


What happened to sizzle lean bacon?

originally produced the product and rolled it out to major United States markets in 1977. In 1990, ConAgra Foods acquired Swift from Beatrice Foods and continued to market the product until about 2005.

What was sizzling bacon made of?

They stopped selling it about 10 years ago. Made from the pork shoulder instead of the belly.

What part of the cow does beef bacon come from?

Simply put, beef bacon is a variation of regular bacon made from beef rather than pork. Pork bacon is generally made from sliced pork belly. Like traditional bacon, beef bacon can also be made from the beef belly. However, it can also be made from the brisket or round for leaner options.

Is Sizzlean a bacon substitute?

Sizzlean was supposedly a lower calorie, less fattening bacon substitute product that was smoked and cured like bacon, but made from pork shoulder instead of pork bellies (where bacon comes from.) Pork shoulder is ironically one of the key ingredients of Spam, one of the most fattening foods on earth.

Is Sizzlean better than pork belly bacon?

Sizzlean was supposedly 50% leaner than pork belly bacon, in fact, although it actually contained 37% fat. And let’s be honest, if it didn’t, it wouldn’t have tasted as good. Most websites on nostalgia or food history tend to paint Sizzlean as one of those crazy ’80’s’ concoctions that belong in the waste bin of failed ideas.

Is Sizzlean healthier than bacon?

Sizzlean, a cured beef product, was said to be healthier than bacon. This product was created and sold by Swift in 1977 and began appearing in major markets the following year. Swift was acquired by ConAgra Foods in 1990 and discontinued before eventually being sold off its meat-related brands.

Why is pre cooked bacon more expensive than mass-produced bacon?

Mass-produced bacon is put into a press before slicing, which is why each slice comes out identical in shape and weight. Pre-cooked bacon is shelf-stable like jerky; enough moisture has been driven out of it during cooking that bad bacteria can’t grow. Because of the processing involved, it is more expensive per pound than fresh bacon.

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