Apparently, we all love bacon a little bit too much.
America has consumed so much bacon that as of the end of 2016, our nation’s bacon reserves are at the lowest amount they’ve been at in 50 years.
According to USA Today, the USDA reported that the inventory of frozen pork belly — the source of our bacon — in December 2016 totaled in at 17.8 million pounds. We haven’t had less available pork to make our bacon since 1957.
What’s crazy is that we produce a lot more pork since 1957, based on a statement released by the Ohio Pork Council, which represents pork producers for one of the country’s top 10 pork-farming states. Their president, Rich Deaton, stated that “Today’s pig farmers are setting historic records by producing more pigs than ever. Yet our reserves are still depleting.”
As a result, the cost of pork belly — and our beloved bacon — has been on the rise, increasing an alarming 20% in January of 2017. However, officials say that cost can partially be attributed to exports, which account for about a fourth of U.S. pork production.
We’ve definitely been doing our fair share to increase the amount of bacon consumption here in the States as well. With the bacon craze that has enveloped our entire country, bacon has become a core addition into many restaurants’ menus to draw in the pork lovers. So while we may be producing a lot more pork than before, we’re also consuming WAY more bacon than before, with our wallets paying the price as bacon’s cost rises.
While the cost of bacon is up for the time being, there’s no need to worry if we’ll run out of bacon in the near future. Still, it might be a good idea to lay off of the bacon for a while.