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A Chinese buying spree is jacking up the price of British bacon—and it’s all thanks to Brexit

Reuters/Stefan Wermuth
A national treasure.
By Chase Purdy
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Britons are learning the hard way that actions have consequences—and those consequences are jeopardizing their beloved relationship to bacon.

Two realities of post-Brexit Britain are taking a toll on the price of British bacon: flooding halfway around the world and the tumbling value of the pound against other currencies.

The flooding, which took place in northern and central China in late July, displaced hundreds of thousands of people and drove up China’s demand for food, including pork products, thanks to the damage done to the country’s domestic pork industry. In response, UK pig farmers have experienced a 40,000-ton uptick in pork exports to China compared to the same time last year, according to Beacon, a UK-based purchasing company.

A nosedive in the value of the British pound post-Brexit has made British pork prices all the more enticing for hungry China, as well as all the other countries whose currencies are enjoying a relative boost in value against the pound.

British pork farmers may be tickled by the forces at play, but British pork lovers can’t be pleased. As proud purveyors of bacon butties and full english breakfasts, Britons like to fancy their cut of the meat to be superior, partly because it includes the belly and the loin.

With more pork than usual leaving the British isle, the predicted price of bacon is expected to increase up to 19% per pound. Smoked bacon product prices could rise by up to 38%, according to Beacon.

In a statement, a food buyer from Beacon lamented that China’s demand for British pork and the devaluing sterling were “impacting our breakfast tables.”

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