LightLife Smart Bacon

Another reader submission today, this one from Liz King:

“Smarter to just buy the real thing…

This ‘smart bacon’ tastes about as good as it looks – like cardboard. It’s dry, and as you can see in the picture, I could only stand to take 2 small bites before throwing the entire thing in the garbage. EW! I’m a meat eater who LOVES bacon, and I was looking for a healthier, easy-to-cook alternative. Never again!”

Looks: This product has the honorable distinction of being the lowest-scoring entry in Food IRL’s history. “Bacon” that looks like cardboard (and not even attractive cardboard)? 0 out of 5


  1. adam1111 says:

    Agreed with an earlier comment that Fakin’ Bacon is superior, but if you fry this up as opposed to using the microwave, it’s acceptable as a substitute on a BLT sandwich.

    By the way, I enjoy this blog because of its lack of snarkiness and overall consistency by the editors. Accepting reader submissions is a bit lazy and detracts from the overall appeal of the site. I mean, getting an avowed meat eater who “LOVES” bacon already skews things a bit. Just my opinion obviously.

  2. joobie says:

    this kind of thing may be an acceptable substitute for someone that hasn’t had bacon in a bunch of years, but it’s not gonna fool anyone that has had it in the recent past.

    to be honest even the dog bacon substitute tastes better.

  3. Corby Ziesman says:

    I have to say a word here, lest your readers think this is at all representative of veg “meat” options…. This stuff is truly bad and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

    If you want vegetarian bacon, the only suitable product I’ve found is “Fakin’ Bacon” which, oddly, is also made by Lightlife. Unlike this product (or Morningstar Farms veg bacon, which looks like a plastic toy), the “Fakin’ Bacon” doesn’t try to look or taste exactly like real bacon. It doesn’t even try to mimic the crispy bacon texture. Rather, it looks like what it actually is… smoky flavored strips of tempeh. And oddly enough, by not trying TOO HARD to mimic bacon, it comes out being way better than all the products that do try. It looks like tempeh, and if you have no bad feelings about tempeh (a food that’s been around forever in Indonesia), it should be fine and it tastes pretty great. I find it at Whole Foods market next to the hickory smoked Tofurkey slices (also really good).

  4. Anonymous says:

    looks like 2D turds

  5. Anonymous says:


    how can a person judge if the fake bacon is a good substitute unless they have had real bacon?

    they do look foul…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Did tester cook this in the microwave on paper towels the way many people cook real bacon? If so, that may explain the dryness. It MUST be cooked in a pan with oil, as per the directions on the box, because there is pretty much no fat in the product itself. But, when it’s cooked in oil, it’s not dry at all, and it’s quite delicious.

  7. ketchup says:

    I dont care how bad it looks but it tastes amazing

  8. Meredith says:

    @Anonymous: “how can a person judge if the fake bacon is a good substitute unless they have had real bacon?”

    I have been a vegetarian almost 17 years, and my non-vegetarian friends ask this question all the time. The problem lies in the assumption that meat substitutes are supposed to imitate real meat. If you are dying for a hamburger, and you have a Morningstar Farms burger instead, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Burgers, bacon, lunchmeat, meatballs, ground beef…they all come in “meatless” versions. But it is 100% about replicating the experience and creativity, NOT the taste. I love (soy) meatballs on top of my spaghetti, but I’m not expecting them to taste like real meatballs. They are what they are, not what they are trying to look like.

    That’s how somebody who hasn’t had real bacon CAN be a good judge of fake bacon – especially when comparing it to other brands of fake bacon. Questions include (1) does it look good, (2) is it easy to prepare, (3) is it tasty, etc. There is no (4) does it taste/smell like real bacon.

    I do see @adam1111’s point very well. Somebody who’s all “mmmm, BACON IS GOOD” is guaranteed to be disappointed by an alternative. Someone who says “yeah, bacon is okay, sure, I like bacon” would be more open to positive reaction to an alternative.

    And the reviewer’s idea that this would be healthier and/or easier to cook…welcome to the real world! Vegetarian food can be just as bad for you as meat. 🙂

  9. Lisa says:

    This product was downright disgusting, whether you’ve had bacon in the past or not. I wouldn’t feed it to my dog, and in truth, it closely resembles “Beggin’ Strips”. I don’t ever recall throwing away an entire package of “food” before, but I tossed this. Fakin’ Bacon is the only way to go if you’re looking for a veggie-bacon experience. Use plenty of oil and cook till crispy and it’s just plain yummy. The only reason I bought this is because Safeway carried it, but it’s worth the drive to your local health food store to get Fakin’ Bacon.

  10. TominVA says:

    And strangely enough there is still a market for this product:

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