Everything You Need To Know About Whole Foods' New Plant-Based Bacon

Nothing is better than a side of bacon next to a stack of pancakes, or a couple strips of bacon to complement a cheeseburger. Wrap bacon around just about anything, and you've automatically upgraded your recipe. Then again, your arteries and the nearly 80 million pigs who are at the front end of the US food chain might disagree (via USDA).

But if you really want that bacon flavor and texture, there is no substitute. Vegans even hear it as one of the main arguments against their lifestyle choice: "What about bacon?" (via Future Kind). Hooray Foods claims they've taken the next step in creating a bacon substitute that can be measured against the real thing (via Food Dive). "We compare against pork bacon or animal bacon, because that's really what we're trying to go after," Hooray Foods founder Sri Artham said. "... In our R&D kitchen, you'll never see another plant-based bacon."

The San Francisco startup began its quest for the ideal fake bacon in 2018 and was just nominated for a World Plant Based Award in the "best meat alternative" category, according to a Hooray Foods Instagram post. But the news that really matters to those shopping for bacon alternatives is that Hooray bacon is appearing this month in 300 Whole Foods stores.

The creators of Hooray bacon put "good-tasting" ahead of "healthy"

Artham is not a food scientist. He's just a meat lover with a conscience who would like to stop consuming animal products without sacrificing the joy of meat eating. "There's just so many pigs in our food system that you raise just for food that contribute to climate change," he told Food Dive.

In developing Hooray Foods' bacon recipe through a lot of trial and error, Artham wasn't trying to create a healthy alternative to bacon. He wanted something that tasted as good as bacon. A lot of work went into making a bacon alternative that sizzled and crisped in the pan like the real thing. The ingredients — coconut oil, rice flour, tapioca starch, liquid smoke, mushrooms, salt, maple syrup, and beet juice — yield about the same amount of salt and even more saturated fat than the real thing (via CNET). Hooray bacon was intentionally made with no soy, gluten, or nuts, so it could be an option for people with certain allergies or sensitivities.

Comments on that Hooray Foods Instagram post prove that there's a market out there for a good vegan bacon. "OMG!!! I've missed bacon SO MUCH!!! Where can I buy it?" one Instagram user said. "You'll be millionaires." To find out if Hooray bacon is available at a Whole Foods near you, you can check its availability.