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Fact Check: Rumor Claims Aldi Sells Appleton Meats Bacon Grown from Cells in Labs. Here Are the Facts

Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images and Facebook
Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images and Facebook

Claim:

Aldi sells Appleton Meats bacon sourced not from pigs but rather from cells grown in labs.

Rating:

Rating: False
Rating: False

In March 2024, Facebook users shared a rumor claiming Aldi supermarkets was selling Appleton Meats bacon. According to the copied-and-pasted posts, the bacon was sourced not from pigs but rather from cells grown in a laboratory environment.

Many of the posts read as follows:

For those who have Aldi's

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. Appleton Meats. Appleton Meats is currently a privately funded company exploring multiple cellular agricultural methods for growing ground beef, chicken, and mouse-meat cat treats. The company has performed the primary research required to translate cellular agricultural theories and laboratory research into commercially available cellular agricultural products. The company plans on launching commercially viable products by 2022 to 2024. The founder of Appleton Meats Sid Deen says the company is "looking at the cell types, the ability to grow them, the expand them and get viable meat out of it", and wants to serve the Canadian cellular agricultural market before expanding into selling their products in the United States.

Credit : Rebbeca Rogowski

However, this rumor was false. Aldi sells bacon, ham, prosciutto and salami under the store brand of Appleton Farms, not Appleton Meats. A photograph of a package of bacon included in many of the posts clearly showed the Appleton Farms logo. Products sold under the Appleton Farms brand are not sourced from cells grown in labs.

According to cellbasedtech.com, Appleton Meats was "an early stage cell based meat company currently in the R&D phase working to develop ground beef for hamburger patties." The company appears to have possibly closed, according to lists of closed companies on Crunchbase.com and the most recent successful archived page snapshot on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, which occurred in 2019.

Appleton Meats had no association with Aldi and previously described itself on its website:

Meat without Animals

The vision driving Appleton Meats is to re-imagine the production of meat. We anticipate a future where no animals have to be harvested for animal protein.

We achieve our aims by harnessing the power of science and our collective imagination and explore meat at its most basic and elemental form: the cellular level. Harnessing the power of cellular biology, we attempt to drive the production of meat in an external environment. Great tasting, sustainable, and free of animal harvesting, this is the future of meat production.

Snopes emailed Aldi's media relations staff to ask about the viral nature of the rumor and will update this story if a response is received.

Aldi is no stranger to being subjected to misinformation and outdated claims. For example, in 2013, a rumor made the rounds about Aldi selling horse meat. However, key context was missing from some of the discussion surrounding the rumor. Also, in 2019, a meme was shared online claiming Aldi had removed the cross from its hot cross buns in order to appease other religions. That rumor was false.

Sources:

"Appleton Meats." Cell Based Tech, https://cellbasedtech.com/company/appleton-meats.

"---." Crunchbase, https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/appleton-meats.

"---." Internet Archive Wayback Machine, 31 Oct. 2019, http://web.archive.org/web/20191031062039/https://www.appletonmeats.com/.

"Deli Meat." ALDI US, https://www.aldi.us/products/deli/deli-meat/.