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U.S. bacon prices rising as pork belly reserves hit 50-year low

By Andrew V. Pestano
U.S. bacon prices rising as pork belly reserves hit 50-year low
As reserves of frozen pork belly decrease, bacon prices are increasing. In January, bacon prices increased 20 percent, the Ohio Pork Council said. File Photo by Joe Gough/Shutterstock

Feb. 1 (UPI) -- The Ohio Pork Council warns that nationwide reserves of frozen pork belly, from which bacon is made, are at the lowest level since 1957.

The non-profit, Columbus-based organization on Tuesday said demand is outpacing supply.

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Pork belly prices increased 20 percent in January, partly attributed to increased foreign demand. Hog farmers export about 26 percent of their product, the council said.

"Today's pig farmers are setting historic records by producing more pigs than ever," Ohio Pork Council President Rich Deaton said. "Yet our reserves are still depleting."

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said the average price in U.S. cities of sliced bacon per pound $5.10 in December. In December 2006, the average price in U.S. cities for sliced bacon per pound was $3.45.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the country's frozen pork belly inventory in December totaled 17.8 million pounds -- the lowest in 50 years.

"While bacon may become more expensive for consumers, rest assured the pork industry will not run out of supply," Deaton said.

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