At Ease, Everyone: Experts Say 2013 Bacon Shortage Is a Myth
Last week, a U.K. group struck fear in the hearts of bacon lovers everywhere when it predicted an "unavoidable" pork shortage next year. But now experts say there's no real threat of an impending "aporkalypse" here in the U.S. and that the organization's report amounts to nothing more than propaganda. Whew!
A recent press release by Britain's National Pig Association claimed that ongoing droughts and the rising cost of feed would force pig farmers to reduce their herds, thereby making pork and pork products scarce all across the globe. But that report may be nothing more than an attempt by British pig producers to drive up prices.
"As long as prices roam free, there's never a shortage or a glut," said meat market analyst Bob Brown. "It will find a way to clear the market." Shortages only occur when prices are fixed and demand exceeds supply.
The price of pork will likely go up by 2.5 to 3.5 percent, says the USDA—nowhere near the 10 percent increase forecast by the NPA. Further, the USDA says it has an ample supply of frozen pork and that a shortage is unlikely even if pork production drops in Europe.
"Bacon prices in the next few months should be quite stable as there is a steady supply of pork going to market and in cold storage," said Matt Swantek, a swine field specialist at Iowa State University.
That's a relief.