It's in vodka, beer and milkshakes.

It's been mixed with jam and wrapped around vegetables.

There are ice cube trays bearing its long, wavy shape, and wrapping paper and board games decorated with its raw, pink image.

If looking like cured meat is your thing, you can buy a bacon costume for about $40 online.

And, yes, an American

company is responsible for a pork-flavored prophylactic that sells for about $10 a box.

"Bacon is everywhere," said Stacie Krulak, a 36-year-old York Township resident.

Though it's hardly a new product, Krulak noticed during the last few years that bacon had become more popular.

"There were bacon appetizers at every party you went to, and people would always post pics about bacon. It just hasn't gone away," she said.

Bacon has always been in grocery stores, but once it had its own meme it seemingly captured the hearts of meat eaters everywhere.

The demand for bacon soared this year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Prices soar, too: From August 2012 to August 2013, prices climbed 21.9 percent to $5.62 per pound -- the highest increase ever tracked by the agency.

It's one of many food fads, which in recent years have also included cupcakes and gluten-free items.

But unlike many food fads, bacon has remained in high demand for the last six years, according to consumer trends.

"Americans still love their bacon," said Chris Brand, spokesman for Giant Food Stores.

Giant has had an increase in bacon sales, he said.


"We're seeing a lift in our turkey bacon and Nature's Promise (the store's organic brand)," he said.

There's also been a rise in sales of the ready-to-eat variety, Brand said.

"Shoppers like their bacon, and they want quick, easy and healthy," he said.

Unless it's a special variety like turkey bacon or lower in sodium, a two-slice serving of bacon contains about 100 calories, 2 grams of artery-clogging saturated fat, 7 grams of total fat and 300 milligrams of sodium.

Most turkey bacon brands cut those numbers in half, but Consumer Reports says the taste is sacrificed.

A study: In its November 2013 issue, Consumer Reports staff cooked 15 packs of bacon in search of the best brand. They tasted the traditional, natural, low-sodium, thick-cut, pre-cooked and turkey varieties.

The magazine chose Kirkland Signature Regular Sliced -- available only at Costco -- as the best bacon, and a turkey bacon scored the fewest points with judges.

But Krulak disagrees.

"When I eat bacon, I eat turkey bacon. I think it tastes great, and it's not like I buy it every week," she said. "I think the whole bacon craze is kind of crazy. But some of the bacon stuff people come up with is pretty funny."

-- Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodal