US pork industry moves to quash bacon shortage fears
An insatiable demand for bacon depleted frozen pork belly supplies in the US to a record low level for December, but the pork industry is confident it can keep up with demand and avoid any serious shortages.
Bottom line: A pound of bacon may cost a little more as winter wears on, but prices should stabilise by summer.
The US Department of Agriculture reported last week that pork bellies in cold storage fell to 17.7 million pounds last month, the lowest December inventory since records began in 1957. In comparison, more than 52.3 million pounds of pork bellies – the cut of the hog from which bacon is derived – remained in storage in December 2015.
“Veterans of the industry say clearly this is record-breaking stuff,” said Russell Barton, a market reporter for protein analyst firm Urner Barry.
“December is the lowest on record. They really haven’t ever seen a situation like this before.”
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