The Price Of Bacon Continues To Increase Steadily

Even if you're bringing home the bacon in paycheck form, you probably can't afford to enjoy the deliciously salty strips of pork goodness like you did in pre-pandemic times. Inflation continues to rage, fueled by multiple factors that CBS News associates with increasing sticker shock at the grocery store, especially in the meat aisle.

Experts like the USDA are linking high meat prices to multiple factors kicked off by labor shortages and supply chain issues early in the pandemic that disrupted the balance between supply and demand. The hits kept coming as skyrocketing fuel prices made it more expensive to deliver goods and the war in Ukraine caused grain shortages that made feeding livestock a pricey business (via NBC News). Some advocacy groups, along with the Biden Administration, even speculate that corporate greed has played a role in the high price of meat with only four companies controlling 85% of the chicken, pork, and beef markets in the United States.

Consumers are seeing prices continue to increase all around the grocery store, with some of the highest hikes on the meat aisle; pork and beef have increased in price by 14% to 20% since 2021. As shoppers continue to edit their grocery lists the price increases on bacon may cause it to become one of the first items to go.

The price of bacon is at a three-year high

In 2019 before the pandemic caused economic and social upheaval worldwide, bacon lovers were spending an average of $5.62 on their favorite cut of pork, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And what may have felt like a small splurge at the time would be quite the deal compared to today's bacon prices.

As the pandemic took hold in early 2020, it caused lockdowns that The New York Times credits with a consumer spending freeze that took hold as people grappled with an unfamiliar situation. From April of 2020 to the end of the year, the average price of bacon increased by 9.07% with no signs of stopping. Folks began to reemerge and resume spending habits in 2021, but companies still dealing with high fuel costs and labor shortages were rendered unable to supply many items that were suddenly in high demand. Shoppers who were spending an average of $5.85 on a pound of bacon in March of 2021 were doling out $7.21 by the end of the year, their wallets were feeling the strain from a 23% price increase.

Shoppers continue to cringe at bacon's price tag as the price has increased by almost 2.5% from January to June of 2022, but there may be hope in sight. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates in an attempt to stabilize the economy, according to USA Today, and the Biden Administration is also taking steps to combat inflation in the meat markets by lowering the cost of fuel.