Not since the Reagan years will a side of bacon set you back as much as it does now. CNN reports that the price of the breakfast staple is the highest it's been in four decades when adjusted for inflation, with the average cost rising close to 30% over the past year, per the Consumer Price Index. It all comes down to the supply chain, and like other industries, pork's took a hit in the US during the pandemic. Meatpacking plants were temporarily closed and pigs were euthanized amid an animal backlog while those factories were shuttered.
WBIR notes that labor shortages also contributed to the pork problem, all while consumer demand has stayed steady. Pork prices overall have surged 12.1% since December, per a National Economic Council briefing earlier this month. "I've been in the restaurant business since the early '80s, and I've never seen anything like it," one chef for a food truck in San Francisco tells CNN, noting the price of pork needed for one of his specialty dishes has doubled in recent months.
One state is getting hit with a double bacon whammy: Not only are prices increasing in California, but new animal welfare rules set to take effect next year could mean pork products all but vanish there. Per an AP report in July, the state will soon start enforcing a proposition approved by voters in 2018 that mandates more space for breeding pigs, as well as for other livestock such as chickens that lay eggs and calves kept for veal. (Read more bacon stories.)