The Aldi Bacon Conspiracy Theory Shaking Up The Internet

Bacon strips in skillet
Bacon strips in skillet - Elena Veselova / Shutterstock

In 2023, Reddit came for Aldi's terrible bacon after a slew of customers purchased some that they deemed too fatty. In March 2024, a different kind of accusation began circulating on social media. A series of viral posts accusing Aldi of selling lab-grown bacon under its in-house label has taken the internet by storm. Now, the grocery chain has responded to set the record straight.

Whether you were looking at one Facebook post or another, it always adhered to a similar format: a picture of Aldi's store-brand bacon above a shopping cart accompanied by the message, "Aldi's customers: If you shop at Aldi you need to know that store brand bacon is not from pig it's from a growing CELL." What follows is a slurry of information about a Vancouver-based company called Appleton Meats, which uses (or, at least, once used) biotechnology to produce meat and dairy products from animal cells.

As a spokesperson for Aldi pointed out to USA Today on March 26, however, Appleton Meats is not the same as Appleton Farms — the company that actually produces the chain's store-brand bacon. "Appleton Farms is an ALDI private label brand and has no affiliation with Appleton Meats," the spokesperson told the outlet. They also confirmed in no uncertain terms, "Our Appleton Farms products are not produced through cultivated lab practices."

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Gloved hand holding lab-grown meat
Gloved hand holding lab-grown meat - Oleksandra Naumenko / Shutterstock

While it's unclear exactly where the misinformation about the source of Aldi's bacon originated, the post's description of Appleton Meats was seemingly copied from the online database Golden Research Engine. To complicate matters even further, the cellular agriculture company may not even still be in operation. Although Crunchbase suggests the company is now closed, Appleton Meats founder Sid Deen told The Canadian Press back in 2019 that the company's products would be hitting the market in three to five years (right around now).

Unaware that the claims about Aldi's bacon were false, some people reacted strongly to the notion of eating lab-grown meat. "Ewww! Glad I don't shop there," a comment on the Facebook post read. "We go from dealing with frankenfood to zombie food," said another.

Despite the fact that lab-grown chicken (for example) tastes simply like, well, chicken, lab-grown meats are still an unfamiliar concept to many. Worth noting, however, is that the FDA deemed them safe for human consumption in 2022. Generated from animal cells, lab-grown meat, as clinical registered dietitian Dana Hunnes explained to UCLA Health, is "almost nutritionally identical" to meat from a slaughtered animal. As much as we love Aldi, it's fair to say that its meat selection could use a glow-up, so perhaps the chain could eventually make no-kill meat its next big thing.

Read the original article on Mashed