Higher costs for pork belly - the cut that bacon comes from - and a tighter inventory saw retail bacon prices rise by 19% to $5.24 per pound, an informal AFBF survey on food prices has found.
Bacon saw the meatiest year-on-year price increase out of 16 popular foods surveyed by AFBF, compared to a report it published at the same time last year.
The reason bacon prices are sizzling is that demand is rising across the US. This has driven down national supply, lifting retail prices, according to an industry expert.
‘Sexy food item’
“Bacon was up significantly because of the lower inventory and higher prices of pork bellies,” explained John Newton, AFBF’s director of market intelligence.
“We saw a rally in wholesale bacon prices this summer and fall which is being reflected at the retail level. Bacon is a sexy food item in restaurants and everywhere else, creating an inventory decline and thus a price increase.”
Of the 16 foodstuffs used to make one or more meals checked by AFBF, 12 increased and four declined in price
Average chicken breasts prices stayed abreast of the highest-rising foods, climbing by 9% to $3.14 per pound.
Deli meats had a thinner slice of the action, with average prices up 3% to $5.62 per pound.
Retail prices for ground chuck dropped by 3% to $3.99 per pound.
The survey suggested US consumers could feel the pinch more than last year with a number of food prices going up.
But with pork production set to increase this year, prices at retail level could slip as higher volumes of meat hit the market and depress prices, UK levy board AHDB Pork said earlier this month.
Retail price rises:
- Bacon – 19%
- Chicken breast – 9%
- Flour – 7%
- Orange juice – 6%
- Vegetable oil – 5%
- Sliced deli ham – 3%
- Sirloin tip roast – 3%
- Whole milk – 3%
- White bread – 2%
- Toasted oat cereal – 1%
- Grated cheddar – 1%
- Apples – 1%