The smell of bacon might make most people's mouths water, but a new product is as likely to trigger your gag reflex: J&D Foods, the maker of Bacon Salt, Baconnaise, Bacon Lip Balm, and a host of other bacon-flavored products has just released Power Bacon, a "meaty fresh" scented deodorant. Justin Esch who co-founded the company with partner Dave Lefkow tells Yahoo Shine that there are some basic rules for using it: "Don't explore the wilderness without a fire arm-we initially weren't going to sell in Alaska where there are a lot of bears-and wear at your own risk."
While Esch might be joking, Power Bacon was inspired by a hunting product used to attract bears and sold by a small Michigan company that also operates a deer farm. It's not edible nor does it actually contain sweat-thwarting chemicals, but it does have a sizzling, porky scent. "I call it an odorant," says Lefkow. "It's the ultimate aphrodisiac for armpits." J&D contracted the deer farmers to make their product in small batches by hand, so you can add "artisanal" to that description.
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Esch and Lefkow started their business in 2007 with Bacon Salt, an idea they hatched while working together for a Seattle software company. They used $5,000 Lefkow won from 'America's Funniest Home Videos' after submitting a clip of his then three-year-old son hitting him in the face with whiffle ball. "He's nine now," he says. "Old enough to ask, 'Where's my $5,000?'" A food development firm liked the idea for bacon-flavored salt so much that they agreed to develop it for free. Six days after launching the seasoning from a garage, with no advertising, they had sold out of 6,000 jars. About a month later, they quit their day jobs.
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In the beginning, they relied on guerrilla marketing to spread the word about their products. "Bacon has got us into lots and lots of trouble" says Esch. It turns out that you can't pass out food samples while dressed up as a slice of bacon near a national monument, and if you are going to host a mayonnaise wrestling contest in the basement of a nightclub you should figure out your clean up strategy in advance. "We poured 16 drums of mayonnaise into the ring. 2,000 people showed up and the tequila shots were a dollar," says Esch. It took three hours to clear out the mess into a back alley with snow shovels after the club closed. The next morning, Emch was woken up by a series of angry phone calls from the city. "The first thing the lady said was, 'Just who do you think you are?'" They also built and marketed a $2,999 bacon coffin for people who "love bacon to death."
Now, J&D Foods is a multi-million dollar company that sells its products online and in 20,000 stores around the world. Esch says that the worst thing about the job is getting to the office bleary-eyed at 9 a.m and having his partner say, 'You gotta try this.' "Nine times out of ten, a new idea tastes just awful." He describes their workspace as a meeting room with a long conference table designed to look like a slab of bacon and a vast white board covered with crazy product schemes. They have recently branched beyond bacon-with-everything into black truffle and Sriracha flavorings.
While bacon may no longer be quite the trendy flavor with chefs that it was a couple of years ago, Wired recently reported that pairing the word bacon with any food significantly boosted its ratings in Food Network recipe searches. Power Bacon deodorant only launched on Thursday so, we'll have to wait and see if consumers go whole hog for smelling like a pig. J&D's deodorant retails for $12.99 at powerbacon.com.
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