Wendy’s this month will complete its transition from using two varieties of bacon to relying only on the premium version currently added to the chain’s salads and marquee sandwiches.
Paul Ziobro, in an article for Dow Jones Newswires, reports that “a higher-priced, Applewood-smoked, center-cut bacon” will find its way onto the Wendy’s Junior Bacon Cheeseburger by the end of August. This change will completely phase out a cheaper, microwaved-heated variety of bacon also used by the restaurant. Information listed on the Wendy’s website appears to confirm this detail — a description for the aforementioned sandwich, part of the chain’s Super Value Menu, includes mention of “hickory-smoked bacon,” while descriptions for other sandwiches that incorporate the ingredient list “strips of thick, fresh-cooked Applewood Smoked Bacon.”
According to Ziobro, phasing out the lower-end bacon serves as just one element of the chain’s recent emphasis on fresh, quality ingredients. Last month, Wendy’s overhauled its Garden Sensations line of premium salads with four new offerings, all of which WalletPop author Sarah Gilbert describe as “reminiscent of something you’d find in a far more upscale restaurant” with their “lolla rossa lettuce, red and green romaine, spinach, and chard.” The two-year-old strategy also extends to the company’s upcoming breakfast menu, according to a story for Convenience Store News. The morning lineup, currently available in test markets only, includes a pastry containing cranberry and oatmeal, a panini, a burrito, and “an ‘artisan’ sandwich that has a ‘cracked egg,’ hollandaise sauce, Asiago and [a] choice of bacon or sausage.” Both the breakfast and Garden Sensations lines utilize the more expensive, Applewood-smoked bacon.
Ziobro’s piece indicates that the removal of “hickory-smoked” bacon from Wendy’s kitchens will likely result in increased prices for the Junior Bacon Cheeseburger. If the price does indeed rise, it will do so in order to accommodate the switch in bacon varieties, and not the rising price of pork bellies, which Wall Street Journal writer Curt Thacker defines as “the fatty part of a pig’s abdomen” from which bacon is sliced. The wholesale price of pork bellies reached a twelve-year high today at $1.43 a pound (up 72% since January) reports Bloomberg. Thacker’s article suggests that prices will rise further still, since “hogs available for slaughter in August through early September are forecast to be 5.4% lower,” while “stockpiles of frozen pork bellies were at a record low for the end of June.” Ziobro, however, quotes Wendy’s spokesperson Denny Lynch on his position that the company “won’t raise the prices of any sandwiches with bacon due to higher pork belly costs.”
Wendy’s unveils a new entrée, the Double Junior Bacon Cheeseburger, later this month for a starting price of $1.89.