Strong demand increases bacon prices

High demand for bacon and pork belly is lighting a fire under Chicago Lean Hog Futures and a Bloomberg report indicates the trend will continue.

Pork belly prices are up about 80 percent this year, and pork belly stocks are at a 60-year low. Retail bacon sales are growing and grocery store bacon prices are up 50 percent from what they were a year ago.

Higher priced pork and beef cuts increase seasonally because of more grilling in the spring and summer.  But the growing popularity of bacon wrapped menu items has resulted in consistently high pork belly demand regardless of the time of year.

USDA’s latest count indicates the national hog herd hit a seasonal record 70 million head in June, which is still not enough to satisfy demand.  Hog herd expansion is expected to ease pork belly shortages by this fall.

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