Ah, bacon. When it comes to pork there is hardly a more wonderful cut. A perennial favorite throughout the US for every single meal, American appetites for bacon are quite literally bottomless.
Keeping plenty of bacon on hand long-term is tricky, though, since you’ll pretty much be stuck between freezing it and going with canned bacon. Concerning the latter, canned bacon is frightfully expensive!
Why does canned bacon cost so much?!
Canned bacon is expensive because bacon in general is experiencing huge cost increases, and the production process of canning just adds to this cost. Other market factors are likewise contributing.
The current market price of canned bacon, assuming you can find in stock, is nothing short of eye-watering.
The cost of cold-case bacon at the grocery is bad enough already, but if you want to lay in a supply of canned bacon for a rainy day (or as a hedge against production downturns) you had better be prepared for a second mortgage on your home.
Keep reading, and I will fill you in about why canned bacon is so doggone pricey…
Bacon Prices Have Been Climbing for a While
Before we tackle the price of canned bacon specifically, it is important to know that the cost of bacon in general, as in the specific cut of the pig, has been going up sharply for quite a few years now.
Some estimates peg bacon prices as having risen by over 30% (net with inflation) over the past 3 years alone, and are up nearly 50% since 2016. Yikes! That’s premium prices, alright…
These hikes are due to a combination of market factors that we will look at below.
How Much Does Bacon Cost?
As of press time, a 16 ounce package of bacon is hovering right around $7 and change in most places throughout the country. Some brands and types cost more or less but generally speaking, all bacon is still quite costly at the moment.
Canning Adds More Complexity to Packaging, and that Means More Cost
Concerning canned bacon, the canning process itself can add significantly to its cost. The canning process begins with purchasing quality pork belly from trusted suppliers.
This pork belly is then trimmed, cured, cooked until it looks much like the bacon you and I prepare at home.
But, in order to ensure that the product maintains its flavor and freshness throughout and after the canning process added stabilizers and preservatives are used to protect the bacon’s flavor and safety during long-term shelf storage.
All of these extra steps mean that canned bacon is even more expensive than buying bacon directly from your local butcher shop or grocery store.
All Consumer Food Costs are Going Up
But that’s not all there is to know concerning the cost of canned bacon. Bacon is pricey, sure, and canning it costs even more.
But another simple, harsh fact is that all food prices are climbing fast, and have been for a couple of years now. Or at least they have since the, ah, completely unknown virus of totally unknown origin struck and the world went mad.
Those self-imposed economic sanctions only fueled the fires of inflation, and now we have all been left to contend with monumentally higher food prices.
In the end, canned bacon is just one more item that has been caught up in the price increase spiral.
A Pig Carcass Only Yields a Little Bacon Compared to Other Cuts
Something else to consider about the cost of canned bacon, or rather bacon in general: only a small percentage of a pig’s meat is actually harvested as bacon, specifically the meat from the belly. That’s what bacon is, pork belly!
The rest of the cuts from the carcass are indeed delicious and varied, but they aren’t bacon and cannot be made into bacon! This simple fact alone makes bacon a premium and sought after cut, and the use of bacon for an even more specialized product- canned bacon!- means it costs even more.
Supply is Not Keeping Up with Demand
Bacon prices are also under sustained assault by an inviolable rule of economics: supply and demand, and in our case supply is nowhere close to keeping up with demand!
The US has been producing large amounts of pork recently, but recent events have caused a massive hit to the number of pigs being raised in this country while the demand didn’t go down at all. In fact, it did the opposite!
More and more consumers want more bacon on hand. They are eating more, cooking with more, and like having more in the freezer as a hedge against loss or future price increases.
This is obviously going to lead to a price run, but the result is that bacon prices will remain high even after supply increases since retailers know that buyers will happily keep paying those high prices for it.
Restaurant Demand is Higher than Ever
Consumers like you and me aren’t the only ones driving up the price of bacon. Fast food, casual and fine dining restaurants across the country have been innovating with bacon for years and are showing no signs of slowing.
They know people want this stuff, and so they put it in everything! Bacon breakfast burritos, bacon cheeseburgers, bacon wrapped scallops, bacon and Brussels, heck, even bacon ice cream!
Since the key ingredient in all of those items is, duh, bacon that means restaurants are buying a massive amount of it, and the demand for bacon in bulk is driving up prices for all consumer side bacon, including canned bacon too.
Pigs are Expensive to Feed and Raise
Another unavoidable issue tied to bacon prices is the sheer expense of raising pigs. Raising these animals is invariably a costly endeavor…
Not only do you have to invest in sizable amount of land, fencing and housing, but the cost of veterinary health care or specialized supplements for certain breeds will pile up quickly.
Just feeding them can cost an arm and a leg. Pigs are omnivorous animals, and require a balanced diet with enough protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.
One of the most popular staple foods for pigs is corn, and wouldn’t you know it, the cost of corn has gone up as well!
And so, as you can see, there are a lot of factors that contribute to the price of canned bacon even when it is still “on the hoof.” So don’t expect any deals on canned bacon in the near future.
Swine Flu Outbreaks Have Impacted Farm Pig Populations
As if the pork industry and bacon lovers around the world didn’t have enough stacked against them, other epidemics have been sending the price of bacon sky high: swine flu!
Swine flu outbreaks have been popping up across the country these past few years, and while they are often treatable many have still wrought devastation on domestic pig populations causing prices to rise ever higher as fewer pigs enter the meat market.
In addition to this, concerns over swine flu affecting the quality of the pork that was produced further impacts costs.
Demand for Bacon is Increasing In North America and Around the World
Lastly, but certainly not least, it seems the rest of the world is finally catching on to the glory that is delicious, crispy bacon.
The U.S. and Canada have long been the biggest and most consistent consumers of bacon, but in just the past 5 or so years demand in the UK, mainland Europe, and Asia have exploded.
This has resulted in even more bacon being shipped overseas while the demand within North America remains apocalyptically high.
Sellers seeking higher profits in other markets have contributed to the overall shortage of bacon products stateside and, as ever, climbing prices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Bacon has been around for thousands of years, but it really started to cultivate rabid popularity in the U.S. around the 1980s. It has been increasing ever since with zero signs of falling off!
Supposedly, the most expensive bacon in the world hails from the U.K. and goes for over $40 a slice. A slice, not per pound! It is dusted with gold and alleged to be of the highest quality from a rare breed pigs.
Bacon averages around $7 a pound in the U.S. as of press time.
Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.
Find out more about the team here.