Rise in bacon prices: a squealing good sign for the economy

A star made of bacon.

Bacon prices on the rise could mean the economy is magically recovering. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/w:User:Porge/Wikipedia)

It may be disheartening that the price for a pint of beer in Europe has risen to $6.30 due to harvest problems and a Russian wheat crisis, reports the London Telegraph. But here’s something to really take the sizzle out of your day: bacon prices are stampeding onward and upward. According to CNBC, bacon is currently 20 percent more expensive than it was a year ago. While grease-loving foodies who may need payday loans before their next pay day aren’t in hog heaven over this sorrowful state of swine affairs, researchers claim this is actually a good sign for the U.S. economy.

Bacon now costs approximately $4 per pound

The Department of Agriculture claims that the steep bacon price increase over the past year is the result of a classic supply-and-demand situation. There’s a shortage of pork bellies, as pig farms have trimmed their herds during the recession. Tomatoes are currently ripe, so BLT sandwiches are a hot item – and thus there’s a need for more bacon. The National Review has gone so far as to call this culinary conundrum “Obama’s Next Crisis.”

One man’s crisis, another man’s baby steps to recovery

The National Review, in its swine sorrow, has failed to see the silver lining. Consumers are looking to invest more of their carefully hoarded money in bacon and bacon-related products – essentially, luxury items. It’s a step in the right direction, for when people reach for luxury items, things tend to be going better as a whole, economically. Rich Nelson of market research firm Allendale, Inc. said that “They may not be buying steak instead of hamburger, but they will put bacon on their hamburger or other things.” Restaurants know this, so bacon is often a newly featured item on tried-and-true recipes.

Demand will fatten the herd

Pig farmers will no doubt respond to increased demand by expanding their hog stocks. Nelson speculates that by mid-2011, bacon prices will begin to drift down. In the interim, some consumers may settle for the generic bacon brands, which are generally fattier and leave eaters with less meat after cooking as the fat melts away. Jason Mosely of the Mr. Baconpants blog and podcast sounds the clarion call – “Your BLT deserves the best bacon you can afford!” – while bacon book author Heather Lauer tells CNBC that if bacon prices are indeed a sign of America’s economic recovery, perhaps the charge will forever remind Americans of the greatness of bacon. Then everyone will celebrate Sept. 4 with patriotic fervor, for that is International Bacon Day. Really and truly, it is.



“The only problem with bacon is that it makes you thirsty… for more bacon.”