A bacon-scented patch has been developed to help people go vegan

The patch has bacon drawn on with a cross through it. [Photo: PA]
The patch has bacon drawn on with a cross through it. [Photo: PA]

A patch infused with the scent of bacon has been developed by Oxford University scientists to help people with their meat cravings when they go vegan or vegetarian.

It’s similar to the size of a nicotine patch and has a drawing of a red cross through two rashers of bacon on it.

The idea is for vegans and vegetarians to scratch it when they’re eating to release the smell of bacon.

Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at the University of Oxford, believes it will help people to “imagine” they’re eating bacon even when they’re not.

It lets off a strong smell of bacon. [Photo: PA]
It lets off a strong smell of bacon. [Photo: PA]

Professor Spence said there has been a lot of evidence to suggest that “scent can reduce food cravings”.

“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.”

He has collaborated with plant-based brand, Strong Roots, to trial the patch, which will be tested in Reading, Liverpool and Leeds this week.

READ MORE: Being vegan lowers heart disease but increases stroke risk

Ex-Love Island contestant, Tommy Fury, has been promoting the patch on his Instagram account.

He claims he’s trying to “cut down on meat this year” in one of his most recent posts and that the “scratch and sniff technology helps him with cravings”.

The idea has been met with some criticism. Many of Tommy Fury’s 3 million followers posted their reservations about the idea under his Instagram post.

“Sorry but I’ve never seen anything so ridiculous.” One user wrote.

Many of his followers thought it was some sort of premature April Fool’s joke.

Another comment said: “Actually crying with laughter at this post.”

Regardless of the feedback, Strong Roots founder Samuel Dennigan hopes that the product will become more readily available in the future, describing it as the “world’s first meat patch”.

READ MORE: Vegan takeaway orders are on the rise

It’s hardly surprising that brands are looking at ways to engage with the vegan market. The plant-based diet has grown four-fold in the past four years with The Economist dubbing 2019 “The Year Of The Vegan”.

Brands swiftly jumped onto the bandwagon with the likes of Gregg’s stepping up their vegan offering with vegan steak bakes and sausage rolls.

From fast-food chains to chocolate brands, there aren’t many of the big names that haven’t tried their hands at something vegan.

Ethical considerations remain the biggest motivation for those deciding to go vegan – this is according to a 2016 survey which found these grounds motivate 80% of vegans, compared to sustainability (12%) and health (14%).

With that in mind, it could be that something like a patch for people who are giving up meat reluctantly might be the way forward.

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