Bacon isn't going to disappear; if anything, it's just going to get harder to find - and, by extension - more expensive. (Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
Photo: Glen Stubbe/TNS
Photo: Glen Stubbe/TNS

Are we on the brink of a bacon shortage? Depends on whom you ask

Smart-alecks are calling it the aporkalypse, but if you really love bacon, there’s nothing funny about it.

There’s a bacon crisis looming on the horizon, the USDA warned Wednesday. The country’s bacon reserves — seriously, there are people keeping track of such things — are at the lowest point they’ve been since December of 1957, long before bacon was considered the essential food group it is today.

Ponder the magnitude of that: No more bacon cheeseburgers. No more bacon egg sandwiches. No more bacon-wrapped asparagus. (OK, that one has always seemed a little weird, anyway. Doesn’t wrapping asparagus in bacon fly in the face of the reason for eating asparagus in the first place?)

Love BLTs? Better start getting used to LTs.

Maybe that’s overstating it. Bacon isn’t going to disappear; if anything, it’s just going to get harder to find — and, by extension — more expensive. The nonprofit Ohio Pork Council, which keeps tabs on all things pig, announced that the demand for pork bellies — the source of most bacon — is outpacing production. At the end of the year, the reserves were down 35 million pounds from end of 2015, leaving a mere 17.8 million pounds in the nation’s meat lockers.

The media was quick to jump on the report, with the approach ranging from playful at NBC — they’re the ones who came up with the aporkalypse crack — to more serious at Forbes magazine, which explored what the news would mean for people investing in pork futures.

Cooler heads prevailed at the New York Times, which took a “when pigs fly” attitude about the whole thing. The paper quoted Steve Meyer, the vice president of pork analysis for Express Markets Inc. Analytics, as saying that U.S. farmers produce 75 million pounds of pork belly every week.

“We’re going to slaughter about 3 percent more pigs this year than we did last year — a record number,” he told the Times. “Bacon production will be higher than it’s ever been.”

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