Image: Strong Roots

I thought about changing the title to “Want to Beat Your Craving for Bacon? There’s a Patch for That.” Then I reconsidered because that would be misleading. Yes, there is a patch similar in appearance to the ones people wear to overcome their nicotine habit. But that’s where the similarity ends.

The Telegraph reports:

Oxford professor Charles Spence has helped develop a patch infused with the smell of bacon, similar to the nicotine substitutes worn on the arm by smokers to help them give up cigarettes.

Scratching the patch is said to produce a whiff of cooked bacon, intended to help quell the wearer’s cravings for meat.

The professor in experimental psychology, who is a world renowned expert in sensory perception and the tricks the mind can play on our sense of smell and taste, teamed up with the plant-based food producer Strong Roots to develop the patch.

He says it will allow wearers to “imagine” they are eating rashers of bacon, with the effect of leaving them “satisfied”.


“Our sense of smell is strongly connected to our ability to taste therefore experiencing food related cues such as smelling a bacon aroma, can lead us to imagine the act of eating that food. Imagine eating enough bacon and you might find yourself sated.”

Granted, I don’t have a degree in experimental psychology but color me skeptical. Unlike other subdermal patches, which introduce a substance into the body, this one strikes me as purely cosmetic.

I’m not the only doubting Thomasa. From further down in the same article:

But some dedicated meateaters voiced their scepticism about the effectiveness of the patches.

Graham Innes, 45, of St Albans, Herts, said he feared they would only encourage him to eat more bacon.

Mr Innes, who runs a building firm boss, said: “If I can smell bacon I’ll want to eat bacon – it’s very simple.

“I’m not going to be satisfied with a cheese sandwich when I can smell bacon coming from the patch – it might work for some, but it would never work for me, I’d be down the nearest cafe for a bacon roll.”

A poll of 2,000 Britons found that 18 per cent said they would struggle to give up meat, compared to 15 per cent for cigarettes and 15 per cent for alcohol.

Look, I’m the first to admit that bacon can be addictive, and if you want to give up eating it for health reasons, more power to you. But I seriously doubt you’re going to accomplish that task through some silly scratch and sniff placebo. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to go have me some bacon.