A very high demand for bacon has driven pork belly supplies to record lows, prompting talk of a nationwide bacon shortage. However, the pork industry remains confident it can keep up with the increasing demand and avoid a serious shortage of the product. An Associated Press report says the bottom line is a pound of bacon might be a little more expensive over the rest of this winter, but the price should stabilize by this summer. A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report says pork belly supplies fell to 17.7 million pounds last month, the lowest number since record-keeping began back in 1957. Wholesale prices are already showing an increase. While retail prices aren’t increasing yet, they could rise as the industry works to catch up. Steve Meyer, a pork industry economist for Express Markets, says he isn’t concerned about the shortage in pork belly stockpiles as pork production likely will increase 3 percent this year. To keep pace with increased pork demand, the industry is building at least four new processing plants in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Michigan in the next few years.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.