The answer to the question, “Where’s the beef?” lately can be found in the bacon section of grocery store shelves. Beef bacon is quickly gaining traction among consumers who are looking for the savory flavor of the pork counterpart but without the fat and calories of pork bacon. Capitalizing on this trend is Telford, Pa.-based Godshall’s Quality Meats which recently celebrated the national rollout of the company’s Angus Steak Uncured Beef Bacon in Sam’s Club stores.

The product, which is available at more than 260 Sam’s Club stores in 20 states, comes in a 24-oz club package with a retail price of $12.98. Following the launch at Sam’s Club, Godshall’s Angus Steak Beef Bacon will also be available at retailers in a 10-oz package, the company said.

To learn more about Godshall’s beef bacon innovation and the company’s motivation for staying in the category, MEAT+POULTRY had a Q&A session with Francis Yupangco, executive director of marketing at Godshall’s.

MEAT+POULTRY: From what part of the beef does the company source the bacon?

Francis Yupangco: Traditional beef bacon is made from beef plates (similar to pork belly) which can be fatty and inconsistent. However, Godshall’s innovation comes from using premium cuts of Angus top round steak where we have full control of the fat content which allows us to produce the perfect slice of bacon every time. The meat is then seasoned with an all-natural blend of traditional steakhouse spices and slow smoked using a blend of hardwoods.

M+P: Where and how is the bacon processed?

Yupangco: Godshall’s Angus Steak Bacon is processed at our plant in Lebanon, Pa., which is currently undergoing an expansion that will double the size of the facility and make continued advancements in robotic technology. The groundbreaking on the plant took place in November and is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of this year.

M+P: What consumer segment is Godshall’s targeting with this product?

Yupangco: We saw the pandemic induce a “better-for-you comfort food” trend, and bacon is one of the top comfort foods because of its versatility in breakfast dishes, on burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, etc. Our Angus Steak Bacon offers a way for consumers to enjoy their favorite food, but in a more mindful way as it contains less fat and calories than pork bacon and doesn’t compromise taste.

M+P: How is the company positioning its beef bacon alongside other products (like pork and turkey bacon, sausage) and competitors (Schmacon)?

Yupangco: Our Angus Steak Bacon was created in the same spirit as some of our other pork bacon alternatives like our famous Turkey Bacon. It is a new offering for those looking for something healthier, but with similar attributes and taste as regular bacon. It cooks up like regular bacon and is also an extremely versatile ingredient for meals any time of day.

M+P: What was the company’s strategy when approaching retailers about carrying this product?

Yupangco: Our Angus Steak Bacon is all-natural, contains 40 calories per serving and has 50% less fat than pork bacon, so it was important to showcase that our Angus Steak Bacon is a delicious and healthier option for consumers looking for an alternative to pork bacon – especially at the start of the New Year (when we launched it) as customers may be more focused on health and a cleaner diet.

M+P: What do you think convinced Sam’s Club stores to carry it?

Yupangco: Sam’s Club continues to redefine warehouse shopping with a highly curated assortment of fresh food, and they have been a valuable partner for us as a variety of other Godshall’s products have performed well in their stores. We were able to offer a 24-oz club package for this exclusive launch with them. Following our initial January launch in over 270 Sam’s Clubs, the company recently notified us that due to the unprecedented success of Angus Steak Bacon, the item will be available in an additional 200 locations in a few weeks. Since our January launch, we have received commitments from numerous leading grocery chains to carry the 10-oz retail pack in hundreds of stores across the country beginning in April.

M+P: Why beef bacon and why now?

Yupangco: Beef bacon sales have continued to enjoy double-digit sales growth over the past two years. Our Traditional Beef Bacon and Godshall’s famous whole-muscle Turkey Bacon have continuously outperformed the competition. We recognized an opportunity to offer a new, innovative, premium and healthier pork bacon alternative to our customers and our culinary and R&D came up with a winner.

During our beginning phase of the product development, we conducted a sensory panel testing at Louisiana State University with both consumers and food scientists, which told us our Angus Steak Bacon was craveable and indulgent and had extremely high purchase intent scores. Having a superior taste profile with half the fat of traditional pork bacon is what makes this product stand out in the bacon category.