Pig Farmers Are Struggling To Keep Up With America's Bacon Needs

And we're paying for it.
07/18/2017 11:01am ET | Updated July 20, 2017

America’s love for bacon just keeps deepening, and it’s becoming a problem for pig farmers.

Back in February there was talk about a bacon shortage, but we were assured there was no reason to panic. And there wasn’t, because there’s still plenty of bacon stocked at the supermarket. But the bacon industry is still feeling a pinch.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the price for pork belly, the part of the hog used to make bacon, has skyrocketed by 80 percent. And frozen reserves ― yes, there are frozen reserves of bacon ― are at a 60-year low. That’s probably partly because Americans bought 14 percent more bacon in stores in 2016 than they did in 2013.

Pig farmers, according to The Wall Street Journal, are struggling to keep up with demand. The national hog herd actually hit a seasonal record high this year with 71.7 million hogs, which is 3 percent more than the previous year. But that still might not be enough to satisfy our nation’s bacon fetish.

Some might blame social media for blasting out images of BLTs, setting off our never-ending appetite for bacon. And thanks to Instagram and Pinterest, inventions like the bacon weave have become the new norm of gluttony.

Then of course, today’s trendy high-protein diets, such as Paleo and Keto, celebrate bacon as a protein-rich part of a “healthy” lifestyle, painting bacon in a more flattering light than in days of yore, when we feared it for its high content of saturated fat.

Looks like we all need to embrace the Meatless Monday-type mentality if we want to give our bacon producers a chance to catch up with our demand.