Does Sizzlean Bacon Still Exist? A Nostalgic Look Back at the Lean ’80s Breakfast Meat

For those of us who grew up in the late 70s and 80s Sizzlean bacon holds a special place in our hearts and taste buds. This iconic lean beef and turkey bacon alternative dominated grocery store shelves during the aerobics era, enticing health-conscious consumers with the promise of a lower fat breakfast meat. Though Sizzlean faded from popularity in the 90s and was discontinued in the early 2000s its legacy still conjures fond memories for Gen Xers today. But does Sizzlean bacon still exist in any form? Let’s take a nostalgic trip down memory lane and explore what ever happened to this retro breakfast food.

A Healthier Alternative to Pork Bacon

Sizzlean first sizzled onto the scene in 1978, marketed by Swift Premium as a healthier alternative to regular pork bacon With its enticing tagline “Move over bacon, there’s something leaner!”, Sizzlean boasted 50% less fat than pork belly bacon For a generation obsessed with low fat and low cholesterol diets, Sizzlean seemed like a dream come true. Even the name “Sizzlean” evoked the satisfying sound and smell of bacon sizzling, without all the grease and guilt.

Made from a blend of ground turkey pork and beef, Sizzlean mimicked the smoky, salty flavor of pork bacon while using leaner meats. Each strip contained about 37% fat – not exactly healthy by today’s standards, but a refreshing change in an era of heavy, greasy breakfasts loaded with eggs, sausage, ham and buttered toast. Sizzlean promised the taste you craved, with a fraction of the fat you didn’t.

Sizzling Popularity in the ’80s Fitness Craze

When Sizzlean first launched, the low fat marketing angle definitely worked. By 1982, Sizzlean had become the #2 selling bacon brand after traditional pork bacon. Even though it never out-sold pork, Sizzlean successfully carved out a niche in the growing market of health-conscious consumers looking for lighter breakfast options.

Sizzlean was especially popular with the spandex-clad aerobics crowds of the ’80s. Workout queen Jane Fonda even endorsed Sizzlean in commercials as the perfect protein to fuel a busy, active lifestyle. For a while, it seemed like Sizzlean was sizzling its way towards mass popularity.

The Taste and Texture Memories Live On

If you were lucky enough to taste Sizzlean back in the day, you may fondly remember its unique flavor and texture. While pork bacon tends to be crispy and brittle, Sizzlean had a chewier, meatier bite. The taste was smokier and saltier than pork, almost like a cross between jerky and bacon.

According to consumer taste tests, most people ranked the flavor of Sizzlean second only to real pork bacon. Some preferred the hearty texture, while others disliked the rubbery chew. Either way, Sizzlean left a lasting sensory impression on those who tried it.

For kids of the 70s and 80s, just reading the name “Sizzlean” triggers Proustian sense memories of the tastes, smells and textures we associate with the bacon-y strips. Sizzlean may not have achieved mass appeal, but it certainly made its mark on Gen X food nostalgia.

The Decline and Disappearance of Sizzlean

Like so many fleeting food fads, Sizzlean’s popularity eventually fizzled out. In the 1990s, as low carb diets replaced low fat, consumer appetites shifted away from manufactured “diet foods” like Sizzlean. When ConAgra acquired Swift in 1990, Sizzlean became an orphan product.

Without significant market share or ad dollars promoting it, Sizzlean quietly disappeared from grocery store shelves in the early 2000s. By 2005, the product was discontinued completely. For diehard Sizzlean lovers, this marked the sad end of an era. No more would that familiar red and yellow packet greet us in the bacon aisle. Sizzlean’s sizzle had officially gone silent.

Why Did Sizzlean Really Disappear?

When beloved food brands vanish suddenly, we’re often left wondering what happened. Did sales drop off? Was the product unsafe or unprofitable? In Sizzlean’s case, the reason for its demise remains a mystery. By all accounts, Sizzlean maintained decent (if modest) sales right up until it was discontinued.

While some sources claim Sizzlean was pulled simply because it never captured more than 2% of the bacon market, this obscures the real story. Sizzlean was never designed to usurp pork bacon’s dominance. As a niche alternative product, it fulfilled its purpose for 20+ years. So why the abrupt disappearance?

The truth is large corporations like ConAgra regularly “prune” products from newly acquired brands to cut costs and shift focus. Sizzlean was likely a casualty of post-merger restructuring, not poor sales. Disappointing for fans, but better than being rejected on taste or quality grounds. Sizzlean seems to have been a perfectly tasty product that, through little fault of its own, got left behind by changing corporate priorities.

Could Sizzlean Ever Make a Comeback?

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, discontinued brands sometimes get resurrected years later by companies banking on nostalgia. Could Sizzlean pull a comeback? Unfortunately, probably not in its original form. The Sizzlean trademark is now owned by Quality Brands LLC, a company that licenses old brands without actually manufacturing the original products.

While we may one day see a product bearing the Sizzlean name, it likely won’t resemble the Sizzlean bacon generations of Americans know and love. And that’s a shame. Because for those of us nostalgic for the chewy, smoky, salty taste of Sizzlean, no substitute will ever fully sizzle the way the original did. Sizzlean occupies a uniquely savory spot in the hearts – and taste buds – of Gen Xers.

The Hunt for Sizzlean Lives On

Like lingering smells that trigger memories, the story of Sizzlean reminds us how powerfully food and nostalgia are intertwined. While Sizzlean the product may be gone, the hunt for Sizzlean-esque tastes lives on in online forums and social media groups.

Bacon purists scoff, but for those whose palates were shaped by Sizzlean’s allure, no fatty pork slab will ever replicate that lean, meaty mouthfeel. Sizzlean shaped the tastes and textures we inherently associate with “bacon”. And those food memories don’t just fade away.

So does Sizzlean still exist today? In literal form, sadly no. But in the minds and stomachs of Generation X, Sizzlean lives on. Its smoky, salty sizzle endures anytime someone asks, “Hey, what ever happened to that low fat bacon we used to eat?” Sizzlean may be gone, but for 70s and 80s kids, its culinary legacy will never fade away.

1985 Sizzlean “Move over Bacon” TV Commercial


When was Sizzlean discontinued?

Sizzlean has been off the market since 2005! After a quick Google search, my hopes did go up a bit when I discovered there are other brands that produce beef bacon. But it’s not as popular as turkey bacon.

Do they still make Sizzlelean?

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 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 healthy alternative to Bacon?

During the late seventies and eighties, Sizzlean was a popular bacon alternative produced by Swift & Co. The breakfast strips were marketed as a healthier alternative to bacon and boasted less fat and less shrinkage than regular pork bacon. Sizzlean was supposedly 50% leaner than pork belly bacon, in fact, although it actually contained 37% fat.

What is Sizzlean Bacon?

Sizzlean bacon is a type of bacon that is made with lean pork. This means that there is less fat on the bacon, making it a healthier option. Sizzlen, a cured beef product that was marketed as healthier, was a popular substitute for bacon. The product was created by Swift and was first sold in the United States market in 1977.

What happened to Sizzlen Bacon?

Sizzlen bacon was a cured meat product marketed as a healthier alternative to bacon that was popular in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1977, Swift Products began distributing the product in the major US markets. It was withdrawn from the market in 2005.

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.

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