Hormel's Compleats Breakfast: I can't believe it's not cat food


When the apocalypse hits, you'll be forced to think strategically. The first step is safety. The second is shelter. The third is finding a hefty supply of dry food.

Fortunately for us apocalypse-fearing folks, a variety of meals lend themselves to dry storage and easy prep. In the event of a nationwide emergency, we'd still be able to chow down on Spaghettios, Campbell's Soup, and Velveeta mac and cheese, among countless highly processed others. Eggs have now been added to the list, thanks to Hormel, the Austin, Minnesota-based company behind Spam and other meaty delicacies.

See also: Austin, Minnesota rejects new Spam-inspired logo

On April 2, Hormel announced the release of four Compleats Breakfast options, including a Bacon Breakfast Scramble, Sausage Breakfast Scramble, Roasted Potatoes & Sausage Gravy, and Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal.

Hormel knows you don't have time to fuss around with real eggs in the morning. Why spend five minutes scrambling fresh eggs when you can spend 60 seconds heating one of their new Hormel Compleats Breakfasts in the microwave? According to Hormel, both of the Breakfast Compleats Scrambles contain two eggs each and, best of all, the eggs are shelf-stable, an apparent victory of food science over boring old regular food.

"We know that consumers are looking for a substantial breakfast option, but need a product that also fits in with their fast-paced lifestyle -- and we saw an opportunity to deliver on both," said Luis Marconi, Hormel's vice president of grocery product marketing. "It took five years to innovate the technology necessary to have a great-tasting shelf-stable egg. The process dramatically shortens the cooking time to make it possible to produce items with eggs and dairy that taste great."


To promote their new breakfast items, Hormel enlisted Richard Karn of Home Improvement fame to travel around Des Moines and Knoxville, encouraging shoppers to switch out their ordinary breakfasts with Hormel Compleats Breakfasts.

Because we're gluttons for food-related punishment and have a lingering soft spot for '90s sitcoms, we decided to take Al Borland up on his challenge and taste test the new Breakfast Compleats. It wasn't easy. The closest Rainbow, Cub Foods, and Target were all sold out. Rainbow in Uptown had Roasted Potatoes & Sausage but said the box was ripped open, which made it eligible for a discount. Tempting, but no. A dozen phone calls later, and we were driving to Saint Anthony where three of four Compleats breakfasts awaited. [page]

We started by pulling the lid off the Bacon Breakfast Scramble. Within seconds, the nearby cubicles reeked of wet cat food. This smell wasn't just faintly reminiscent of cat food; it was as though someone had lit 10 sticks of Fancy Feast incense. Employees emerged from their offices one by one to search for the source of the smell, only to find us huddled around a toilet-shaped bowl of egg mush.

Next stop, the microwave. We followed the directions on the box, nuking the dish for 30 seconds, stirring, and nuking for another 30. We fluffed the egg-like product in a desperate yet futile attempt to make them appear edible. The smell intensified.

With a deep inhale, we took our first bite and were immediately overwhelmed by a hideous flavor combination of creamed corn, Slim Fast, vanilla pudding, and salt. The eggs were textured like coagulated rubber and the only sign of bacon was a peppering of sad red flakes throughout the dish.

As painful as it was, we forced ourselves to swallow another bite of egg-like product, this time in the form of Hormel's Sausage Breakfast Scramble. We can safely say we've never eaten cat food, but Hormel's breakfast scrambles come as close as we can fathom in taste, smell, and appearance.

The Roasted Potatoes & Sausage Gravy dish was the best of the three, primarily because it was entirely devoid of shelf-stable eggs. The gravy was watery and tasteless, like something you'd expect to be served in grade school or an institution, and the potatoes were mealy.

The smell was so strong, we had to seal the remaining bowls of mush in a plastic bag before throwing them away. Each Compleats Breakfast currently sells for $1-$3. Frankly, if you really don't have time to scramble up some eggs in the morning, you're better off sticking to the McDonald's Dollar Menu.

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