Pork tummy costs increased over 100% YTD, bacon will get costlier

Bacon frying in a pan.

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Bacon will get back at more costly as wholesale pork tummy costs approach record highs on the back of an animal well-being law in California, along with peak summertime need.

Pork tummy costs increased over 100% year-to-date from 131.59 cents per pound in January, to 270.89 cents at the end of July — simply shy of the all-time high of 279.97 cents per pound in August 2021, according to information from FactSet. That’s a dive of 106%.

Wholesale pork tummy costs are presently trading at 270.89 cents per pound.

And customers will see even greater costs of bacon, which is mostly cut from pork stubborn bellies. 

More area for pregnant plants

“Overall, I expect bacon specifically, but pork generally, in California is going to become very expensive,” stated Cobank’s lead protein market expert, Brian Earnest.

Analysts who spoke with CNBC associated the rise in pork costs partially to a just recently enforced animal well-being policy in California, which entered result July 1.

California’s Proposition 12 prohibits the sale of pork from farms that restrict pregnant plants in small enclosures, and areas that are less than 24-square-feet.

This part of the law entered result on July 1, despite the fact that other parts of the proposal — which stated minimum functional floorspace requirement for reproducing pigs and egg-laying hens — were executed previously.

According to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), pig farmers were not correctly sought advice from.

“Proposition 12 was developed without input from hog farmers, veterinarians or others with expertise in animal care and food safety,” the declaration stated.

Piglets collecting around a plant for feeding at Centennial Farm in California. Proposition 12 is a law forbiding the confinement of pregnant plants in small enclosures.

Medianews Group/orange County Register Via Getty Images | Medianews Group | Getty Images

New building of the certified real estate is approximated to cost $3,400 to $4,000 per plant, the association predicted, including that it has to do with 40% more costly than a gestation stall keeping the very same variety of hogs.

Those expenses are set to hinder lots of pork manufacturers.

“Many small and medium-sized farms will be unable to bear the significant capital investment. Any costs incurred because of Proposition 12 will also fall on consumers,” the NPPC specified.

The belief is echoed by Cobank’s Earnest.

“Given the economic environment, hog producers will be reluctant to build Prop 12 compliant housing,” stated Earnest, who included that purchasers demanding pork items ahead of the July 1 due date “stoked the flames” for greater tummy costs.

Proposition 12 played a “major role” in the rise in costs, stated Urner Barry pork market expert, Ryan Hojnowski.

Consequently, sellers of bacon will wish to keep their earnings margins up — hence, the spike in pork tummy wholesale costs is going to equate to greater retail and food services costs, he stated.

“This of course ends up making the bacon more expensive for the consumer,” Hojnowski informed CNBC in an e-mail.

According to information offered by product company Urner Barry, skinless stubborn bellies weighing 11-13 pounds — among the classifications of pork offered — rose 157% from the week of June 5 through the week of July 31. Prices leapt from 99 cents per pound to 255.2 cents per pound on a wholesale basis throughout that duration.

BLT season

Underscoring the effect of the law is greater need for bacon throughout this time of the year, accompanied lower pork production.

August is usually described as “BLT season,” stated Earnest, describing the popular bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich typically consumed in summertime when the tomato harvest remains in full speed.

BLT with french fries at a dining establishment in Colorado.

Glenn Asakawa | Denver Post | Getty Images

“Seasonally, pork belly prices typically peak during July and August. This year is following a similar pattern,” stated Lee Schulz, associate teacher at Iowa State University’s department of economics.

Pork tummy costs in August in 2015 traded at a fairly greater figure of 222.69 cents per pound compared to the remainder of the year, according to FactSet.

Lee included that “hog slaughter has been steadily moving lower,” which remains in line with this time of the year. However, he anticipates that costs would usually begin to move lower towards the 2nd half of the year.

Urner Barry’s Hojnowski likewise echoed that summertime is the duration where pork production dips to the most affordable point in the year, which tightens up the supply of fresh pork stubborn bellies on the free market.

The U.S. is the world’s second biggest exporter of pork, behind Spain.

Prices of sliced up bacon in significant U.S. merchant outlets for the week ending Aug. 24 are 6% greater than a year back, according to information from the United States Department of Agriculture.


News and digital media editor, writer, and communications specialist. Passionate about social justice, equity, and wellness. Covering the news, viewing it differently.

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