Bacon is more expensive for Americans than it has been in the past 40 years. The average price for that slab of bacon to accompany the Sunday morning spread has jumped nearly 28% during the past 12 months, Consumer Price Index data show.
The supply chain issues and inflationary pressures that have become all-too common in these pandemic times certainly have played their roles in the pork price hikes, alongside a slew of industry-specific influence. Meatpacking plants – where employees worked long shifts in close proximity to each other – emerged as virus hotbeds. Lives were lost, plants were temporarily shuttered and federal investigations ensued.
When those facilities shut down, the backlog of animals grew, resulting in millions of pigs being euthanized without processing into food. Additionally, producers, wary of getting ahead of demand with too much supply, started thinning their breeding herds — ultimately depressing this year’s pork supply, said Adam Speck, economist with IHS Markit.
“Pork production is expected to close out the year 2% lower than 2020 levels.” Speck went onto say. The demand for bacon remains high. “Demand has been exceptional in the US, moving more volumes at retail than ever before seen,” Speck said in an email to CNN Business. “The combined effect of tighter supplies and stronger demand for proteins overall have contributed to this inflation.”
“But do not expect a rapid price concession the next few months,” Speck said, “as retailers are typically slow to bring bacon prices back down.” Feed, freight and labor costs have also risen significantly, said Trey Malone, assistant professor and agricultural economist at Michigan State University.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AZ FAMILY
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