For most people, there is no such thing as too much bacon. Yet, we have a potential pork problem on our hands.
By the end of September, more than 40 million pounds of pork bellies were being stored in refrigerated warehouses. You would have to dial the clock back nearly 50 years ago to 1971 to find the last time America had such a significant bacon surplus in one month.
Think about it this way: The last time this much bacon was chilling in the fridge, Richard Nixon was president and the voting age had just been lowered to 18.
Despite bacon reserves building up to record-highs, it may not last. Due to African swine fever decimating its pig population, China’s demand for this breakfast staple is expected to increase. In fact, bacon exports to China and Mexico are at an all-time high. Interestingly, rather than purchasing individual cuts of pork, China prefers to buy hog carcasses and process them within its own country.
However, China’s unique demand for carcasses rather than processed bacon could prove problematic, one expert told Bloomberg. According to Dennis Smith, senior account executive at Archer Financial Services Inc.,
“The theory is, if we continue to export split carcasses to China, it’ll [eventually] create a belly shortage.”
This simple case of supply and demand could eventually lead to increased bacon prices worldwide. This volatile mix of present and potential future problems surrounding our favorite pork product certainly doesn’t sound appetizing.
On one hand, there is a massive surplus of bacon. Yet in the future, the demand from China could result in a potential shortage and a corresponding price jump.
So whether you enjoy crunching on crispy bacon strips at breakfast or venture into the candied bacon realm with dessert, consider yourself lucky…for now.