Bacon is more than just pig fat. Those succulent slices of greasy goodness are the staple to any Saturday morning breakfast. Along with a cup of joe, they’re the perfect companion to a couple of sunny-side-up eggs. They’re also the ultimate addition to a juicy burger and the central component to a BLT.
Over the years, meat-lovers have added bacon to just about every dish possible, even making it into a chocolate-covered snack. However, with pork prices on the rise, fanatics might have to search for a different source to supplement their cravings.
Bacon prices have reached their highest in the past 40 years, increasing 28 percent in just the past year. Meanwhile, in just the past 20 years, the cost has almost doubled from the average price of $3.03 per pound in 2000 to $5.83 per pound in 2020.
According to Thrillist, there are several reasons why we’re seeing such a drastic change in pork prices. The first is one that many food manufacturers have come to know all too well within the past year. Pandemic-related shortages are still affecting big bacon companies, resulting in a 2 percent shortage since 2020.
Cost inflation has also affected the change in price. Perhaps the most significant contributor to bacon’s latest and highest price tag, though, has to do with the brands themselves.
Bacon Companies Expect Prices to Decrease in 2022
Brand-name companies like Oscar Meyer, Smithfield and Hormel Black Label dominate the market. However, the Biden Administration has sought to de-monopolize the industry, per a White House briefing on the increase in meat prices. Four main hog-processing firms control 66 percent of the meat market in the country, compared to just 33 percent in 1976.
“Just four large conglomerates control the majority of the market for each of these three products, and the data show that these companies have been raising prices while generating record profits during the pandemic,” the briefing read.
Pandemic-related panic buying has only benefited these four conglomerates even further, resulting in the near 30 percent increase in bacon price that we’ve seen from 2020. Part of the Administration’s plan is to prevent “illegal price fixing” and creating “more transparency” in the country’s meat industry.
The briefing continued, “The meat-processors are generating record profits during the pandemic, at the expense of consumers, farmers, and ranchers. The dynamic of a hyper-consolidated pinch point in the supply chain raises real questions about pandemic profiteering.”
Companies expect supply and demand levels to return to normal measures, resulting in lower bacon prices. In the meantime, for those who can’t wait for more affordable pork, consider visiting your local butcher for a better deal or perhaps even switching to a healthier, turkey-based version.