Reddi-Wip made a name for itself by turning one of the world’s most delicious foods into a more convenient, disgusting version of itself. After revolutionary success in whipped-cream tech, they just couldn’t resist trying to hack another snack.
With Reddi-Bacon, busy toaster owners could cook up to eight slices of bacon in 90 seconds. Each packet of Reddi-Bacon contained four strips of precooked meat between two sheets of foil, padded with absorbent paper. Simply popping the whole packet into a toaster slot yielded four sizzling strips, all without expending effort or dirtying a pan. The Hartford Courant called it “instant bacon,” because 90 seconds was as instant as it got in 1964.
Alan B. Lane, assignor to Reddi-Bacon, Inc., submitted a patent for the product’s innovative packaging in 1965, which the U.S. Patent Office approved four years later. Unfortunately, the residual fat in Reddi-Bacon’s precooked strips proved problematic. Even the slightest tear in the packaging posed a threat, as grease could drip down into the toaster, destroying it or starting a fire. Reddi-Bacon scrapped the idea and pulled product shortly after, laying their instant bacon to rest in the graveyard of failed foods from the mid-20th century.
But Reddi-Bacon wasn’t as off the mark as one might think. What its creators didn’t realize was that they needed a new tool, not a new bacon. With the invention of the microwave, any piece of bacon became almost-ready bacon. And, hey, Reddi-Wip is still around to top it off with.
Need to Know
Even though Reddi-Bacon is extinct, you can recreate it by cooking a piece of bacon, blotting out all the grease, letting it cool, and then reheating it in a toaster. Remember, dripping bacon grease is as unsafe now as it was then.