FAT MARGINS

Record high bacon prices really are at record highs

August 5, 2014
August 5, 2014

Not only is it a great name for a punk band, but porcine epidemic diarrhea is a real disease that’s decimating US hog supplies and driving prices for pork products sky high. In fact, prices for bacon are the highest on record, at $6.11 a pound in the US.

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Of course, that’s just a nominal price. Given the effects of inflation over time, you’d expect the price of bacon to be much higher than it was decades ago. But even in inflation-adjusted terms—or as economists say, real, terms—the price of bacon is hitting all-time heights.

Just recently, prices surpassed the previous high-water mark set back in September 1982, when a pound of bacon was at a then-unheard-of level of roughly $2.40, in the aftermath of the Great Inflation. The current prices for bacon is even steeper than that, at roughly $2.60, in terms of early 1980s dollars.

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Is there any relief in sight? Indeed. With bigger pigs offsetting smaller herd sizes, supply has rebounded quickly; lean hog futures prices have fallen by more than 20% since the end of June.

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