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UMKC Innovation Center
April 27, 2017

St. Genevieve Entrepreneur John Kreilich Introduces Naked Bacon

Naked Bacon Missouri entrepreneur John Kreilich

Over 150 years ago, a German immigrant brought his bacon recipe and farming know-how to St. Genevieve, Missouri. Great-grandson, John Kreilich grew up on the farm, raising animals and smoking meats. His interests led him to becoming a chef where he identified a niche for healthier, better-tasting bacon. “I wanted to make bacon the way it’s meant to be—without nitrates, phosphates and other chemicals,” explains John, daylighting as a scientist for the federal government. Using his great-grandfather’s original recipe, he formulated a recipe using the purest ingredients and processing methods. Naked Bacon is the result.

Now that he had a healthy, wholesome bacon, the trouble was introducing it to the market. “Meat managers are not receptive to innovation in the meat department. Their theory is ‘bacon is bacon’ and there is nothing new that can be done.” John’s challenge, therefore, was to reinvent how people viewed bacon. By completing several Whole 30 certifications and demonstrating the desire for healthier meat choices, Naked Bacon has received national attention. Additional assistance through the United States Department of Agriculture and the Missouri Agricultural Council helped with business development and building awareness.

Even with revenue uncertainties and operational challenges, John learned to focus on the present and take one step at a time. Fitness-oriented himself, working out helps dispel his fears. As a chef, he travels to Asia to work with different chefs to incorporate bacon into traditional dishes. It’s an approach that excites John and other cultures to the possibility of new ideas and flavors. John’s steadfast approach has helped expand bacon exports into Brazil and Asia.

For other entrepreneurs, John recommends, “Get as many people as possible to try your product and get feedback. Come up with a business name that speaks to what the product is and captures their attention.” Beyond that, he lives by the theory of grit and persistence as he introduces Naked Bacon to European markets.

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Post provided by Kris Edens, a copywriting and blogging resource for small business. She resides in Festus, Missouri and enjoys networking, writing and the entrepreneurial community.

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