A pound of sliced bacon cost about $7.21 in stores as of 2021. In comparison to the price in 2020, this amount represents an increase of 23.7%. In addition to being a common element in sandwiches, burgers, and even salads, bacon is a well-liked morning meal.
While the cost of food typically fluctuates with the seasons, the cost of bacon and other types of meat has remained consistently high since since the COVID-19 outbreak.
You might be unsure of what’s causing the issue that’s driving up the price given that many pig farms are back in business.
Many restaurants and other eateries had to reduce their food orders because many people were stranded at home and unable to eat out.
Large areas of pig farms’ operations have to be suspended in order to protect the health and safety of their workers.
As a result, there were too many pigs on these farms, and there was no money coming in to feed them.
Bacon and other pork-related meats were in high demand once everyone went back to work and the restaurants reopened.
Pigs that were prepared for slaughter were purchased and transported away right away during the bottleneck.
Bacon was able to be sold for more money since there was a strong demand and a short supply.
Because supply and demand haven’t caught up, the price hasn’t decreased over time.
Since bacon never goes out of style or demand, it might not happen for a few years.
California Pig Farm Laws
California implemented legislation that have an effect on the pig and poultry sectors in an effort to butcher animals more humanely.
This would not only make the animals’ life better, but it would also be cleaner.
The issue is that unlike poultry farms, which swiftly adapted to the new adjustments, pig farms have not.
The majority of pig meat is produced in Iowa, yet only 4% of pig farms there are in compliance with the new regulations.
The pig farm won’t be able to send its meat to California if it is unable or unwilling to comply.
As a result, only a select few businesses will be able to supply California and its citizens with pig meat.
A study conducted by a group opposed to the pig farm restrictions found that if California lost half of its pig supply, prices would rise by 60%.
To meet the expansion in the size of the pigs’ accommodations, they will need to invest in larger parcels of land.
Every hog farm should anticipate a roughly 15% increase in their production expenses per pig, according to an economist.
The price of bacon would therefore need to be increased in order for those producers to make up their losses.
Even though this mostly affects Californians, it may eventually have an impact on everyone.
Everyone can anticipate higher costs for bacon if all the hog farmers follow the law.
Despite having a lower infection incidence than other diseases, it can occasionally spread to humans.
This indicates that fewer pigs were able to be killed and turned into bacon.
The global supply of pigs is affected whenever the swine flu appears in a particular region of the world.
Restaurants and other buyers who once obtained their pig meat from that farm must now do so elsewhere.
The arrival of swine flu merely exacerbates the issue because the pandemic has already put pressure on the bacon market.
Due to an increase in swine flu cases in the western hemisphere, bacon is becoming more expensive.
Demand For Protein
Studies revealed that there has been an increase in protein consumption in recent years, whether it was due to an effort to live a healthy lifestyle or simply to enjoy comfort food.
One study predicts that between 2020 and 2027, the amount of protein consumed will rise by 9.1%.
Many people get a considerable quantity of protein from a typical breakfast that includes bacon because it’s typically tough to consume just one strip.
Some individuals consume more protein in an effort to improve their health.
People are striving to adopt better lifestyles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They took the gym inside their living rooms because they were unable to do anything outside the house.
They may have discovered that they enjoy working out and want to maintain the hard effort they’re putting in throughout that time.
The demand for bacon has grown as a result of its accessibility as a protein source.
Because more people are regularly ingesting protein, bacon is more expensive.
For instance, ham can be produced from a variety of parts of the pig, but it primarily comes from the legs.
Ham is the least expensive cut of meat since pig legs are the biggest cut.
A pig’s belly size might vary depending on how well it was fed throughout its life.
A factory can never be completely certain of how much bacon they will be able to make in a year because there is no defined amount.
Because the rest of the pig’s meat is theoretically wasted because bacon only originates from one section of the animal, it is also more expensive.
Even though every part of the pig is sold, a person who only wants to consume bacon is essentially squandering the rest of the animal.
They raise the pricing on smaller portions to make sure they get paid for the entire pig, regardless of what part they sell.
Cost of Pig Care
To ensure they can produce as much pork as possible, farms must take care of their pigs.
Farmers must make sure that their pigs are not consuming anything that could be hazardous to humans because anything the pig consumes also ends up in humans.
Additionally, vaccinations and other medical procedures are required to maintain the health of their pigs.
Their entire herd may be affected, for instance, if one of their pigs contracts the swine flu.
They just invest a few thousand dollars to keep their herd of pigs fully immunized rather than losing several million dollars by having to put the animals down.
The end result is a high production cost, along with land taxes and other expenses related to raising pigs.
Manufacturers must set the price of the meat high enough to offset those expenses and make a profit.
The more well-liked sorts of meat typically have a higher price to ensure they can turn a profit.
Rise In Bacon Consumption In Other Countries
While it’s common knowledge that Americans and Canadians consume a lot of bacon, other nations are catching up.
Although it strives for self-sufficiency to reduce the cost of importing pork, it hasn’t quite gotten there yet.
To feed its pigs, it still imports a significant amount of soybeans and other cereals.
The country’s growing middle class is directly responsible for China’s rise in pork consumption.
Bacon is increasingly in demand as more people throughout the world eat it.
The price of bacon can also be influenced by the caliber of the animal from which it is produced.
Some people might believe that all bacon meat is the same, but claiming that about steak is absurd.
These companies frequently provide a high-quality diet of various items for their pigs.
As a result, their bellies produce bacon that is richer in fat and flavor.
Since restaurants strive to provide their clients with the best dining experience possible, they frequently choose the higher quality bacon meat first.
The additional cost that farmers incur to prepare the pig for butchery is the cause of the higher price.
High-quality bacon brands include, for instance:
- Artisan from Vande Rose Farms
- Store Brand from Trader Joe’s
Other alternatives, such as having it cured or smoked, may further raise the cost.
This extra stage in the production process gives the bacon even more taste and adds to its richness.
Some manufacturers prefer to cure their bacon using apples or to smoke it with particular kinds of wood.
Since the artisan version is more expensive to produce, the price rises as well to make up the difference.
Because they require extra production stages, these products are also more expensive than regular bacon.
Engrained In Culture
It occasionally contributes to toxic masculinity expectations about what a man should consume.
Additionally, it frequently appears in brunch scenes of Hollywood films and commercials.
Bacon is more expensive since it is such an integral component of the culture.
Businesses are aware that because bacon is so ingrained in the society, consumers are more inclined to pay for it, even if it is pricey.
Bacon gets away with having a high price tag since it is a symbol of American society.
How do you choose quality bacon?
When looking for the healthiest bacon, keep an eye out for the following:
- Watch your sodium intake. The FDA recommends a daily salt consumption of no more than 2300 mg.
- Thin vs. thick cuts More bacon may fit into fewer slices when it is thick cut.
- With sodium ascorbate, low-quality “pumping” was employed.
- Be sensible and take note of the fat.
Does China produce Smithfield bacon?
You may be sure that your pig products are made in your own backyard whether you’re having bacon for breakfast or pork chops for dinner.
One of the top pork producers in the country, North Carolina produces the majority of its own pork. No matter what brand you choose, you may rest assured that the US Department of Agriculture forbids the importation of any pork or pig-related items from China.
However, Smithfield Foods, situated in Virginia and controlled by a publicly traded business with its headquarters in Hong Kong, has occasionally been the subject of worries due to unfounded assertions made on social media.
“Smithfield has never imported anything from China into the United States and will never do so. Animals were not reared, processed, or packed for Smithfield in China. According to the Smithfield Foods website, each of our approximately 50 sites located throughout America manufactures one of our U.S. products.
Seven of such facilities are located in North Carolina, including the Tar Heel facility in Bladen County and the largest bacon plant in the world, both of which are located in Wilson.
To produce the hams, ribs, pork chops, loins, butts, sausages, and bacon that we all love, Smithfield sources pigs from farms in North Carolina and other nearby states. Customers can purchase these farm-fresh goods from restaurants and grocery stores around North Carolina and the rest of the country. The extra pork and pig parts that we don’t eat are exported to other countries. Everyone benefits, and it adds to the state’s pork industry’s $10 billion annual economic impact.
In total, Smithfield-owned farms and processing facilities employ about 10,000 North Carolinians.
The Warren Family has been farming pigs in Sampson County for more than 20 years and is one of many family farms that has a contract with Smithfield. They remained with the business after it was acquired by the WH Group in 2013 despite Smithfield initially buying off their contract with Premium Standards Foods in 2007.
Because there is a good chance that the pork you purchase at the grocery store was produced and processed in North Carolina, you should feel confident doing so. That is as close to being homegrown as you can get.
The vibrant pork sector in North Carolina supports more than 44,000 jobs and generates more than $10 billion in economic output annually. Millions of Americans are fed by the pork we raise here and produce, which is healthy and nutritious.
What makes bacon good?
Best Bacon Taste Test
- The Vande Rose Farms Artisan Dry Cured Applewood Smoked is our top choice.
- Trader Joe’s Uncured Apple Smoked is our top pick.
- D’Artagnan Applewood Smoked Uncured.
- Dry-cured maple bacon with a tender belly.
- Hickory smoked uncured Sunday bacon from Applegate Farms.
- Bacon from Trader Joe’s that is traditionally sliced and dry-rubbed.