Save the Bacon: Pork Belly Reserves Hit 50-Year Low | NBC Southern California
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Save the Bacon: Pork Belly Reserves Hit 50-Year Low

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Tucson mushroom company claims their oyster mushroom variety tastes like bacon when cooked, but is much healthier. (Published Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016)

    Warning: Some may find the content of this story disturbing. 

    U.S. bacon reserves have hit a 50-year low, sending prices for the scrumptious breakfast meat upward as pig farmers struggle to keep up with demand, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

    Frozen pork belly, where bacon comes from, totaled 17.8 million pounds at the end of 2016, a decrease of 35.6 million pounds from 2015, per USDA data. In the month of December alone, the drop in total pork inventories totaled 41 million pounds from the end of November. It's the lowest amount in storage since records began in 1957.

    The Ohio Pork Council, which works to benefit all Ohio pork producers, is sounding the alarm. 

    “Today’s pig farmers are setting historic records by producing more pigs than ever. Yet our reserves are still depleting,” said Rich Deaton, the group's president. 

    But Deaton vowed the pork industry would not run out of supply. 

    "Ohio farmers will continue to work hard to ensure consumers receive the products they crave," he said. 

    The USDA also says heightened demand for U.S. pork products, particularly pork belly, among consumers domestically and abroad may be to blame for the declining inventory. Because demand is outpacing supply, consumers can expect the price of pork belly to keep going up, which would mean paying more for bacon. In the first three weeks of January alone, pork belly prices have risen 20 percent, according to Ohio's Country Journal.