There's Something Suspicious About This Lifetime-Supply-of-Bacon Contest

Bacon is the best way into a lot of people's hearts, but is it also the best way to distract from abuse allegations and legal trouble?

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Sep 11 2018, 10:16pm

Photo via Flickr user Cyndie Ward

Bacon For Life. It could be a slogan, a goal, a personal mantra. And now, thanks to meat giant Smithfield Foods, it could be a reality for one lucky pork lover.

Announced at the beginning of the month, Bacon For Life is a sweepstakes offered by the Virginia-based pork processor, the world’s largest. When the contest draws to a close on December 31, one grand prize winner will be awarded that smokiest of all prizes: a lifetime supply—up to 50 years’ worth—of salty, fatty bacon.

To enter, contestants just have to locate a pack of Smithfield bacon, send in the code listed on the package, and then wait out the remainder of the year on pins and needles. The one lucky winner’s prize will be paid out in coupons good for one pack of bacon per week for up to 50 years: a gift worth upwards of $20,000.

At 16 slices of bacon per package, that comes out to more than two slices of bacon per day, every day. Just think of all the possibilities: daily bacon, egg and cheeses. Loaded baked potatoes. How about a challah French toast BLT?

Besides the grand prize, five first prize winners will receive a year’s supply of bacon; five second prize winners will score a ridiculous-looking “bacon bicycle” adorned with images of pork strips; ten third prize winners will get an equally absurd set of bacon-and-egg-emblazoned cornhole boards; 500 fourth prize winners a set of bacon pint glasses, and 500 fifth prize winners a set of beer koozies, the glasses and koozies enlivened with phrases like “Every Day I’m Sizzlin’” and “I Can’t Please Everyone, I’m Not Bacon.”

“At Smithfield, we celebrate bacon on a daily basis and are inspired by the passion people have for it,” Michael Merritt, the company’s senior director of brand marketing, stated in a news release. “The bacon phenomenon is here to stay and the Bacon for Life sweepstakes is our opportunity to reward those bacon loyalists who have supported Smithfield over the years from early morning breakfasts to late-night snacks and every meal in between.”

But while the sweepstakes is ostensibly a fun way to celebrate “bacon loyalists,” the contest likely has another motive: distracting the press and the bacon-eating public alike from the pork producer’s truly disastrous summer. Last month, a federal jury ordered Smithfield to pay $473.5 million to neighbors of three of its sprawling, stinking North Carolina hog farms, who have endured stench, pests, and noise pollution from the operations’ many vehicles. Dozens of similar lawsuits in the state are currently pending. Smithfield has also repeatedly been accused of animal abuse in its facilities after investigations by animal welfare organizations.

So while few—OK, maybe vegetarians—would think to turn down five decades’ worth of free pork, upon closer inspection, Smithfield’s Bacon For Life contest appears to be a slick, “nothing to see here!” type of campaign.

Or, in the immortal words emblazoned on one of the pint glass prizes, “When all else fails, add bacon.”