Monday, August 16, 2010

Americans have stuck loads of bacon on their sandwiches and salads this summer. So much so that the supply and demand of hogs has fallen, creating a shortage in none other than the delicious pork bellies.

The price of pork bellies, from which bacon is made, has shot up from 94 cents per pound as recently as June to $1.40 per pound in August. In stores, average retail prices have risen by more than $1 per pound since last year, to more than $4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported. Market analysts said the reason for the suddenly high prices is simple shortage: A year ago, 76.3 million pounds of pork bellies were in various commercial freezers around the country. In early August of this year, that storage figure had dropped to 35.4 million pounds.

"Prices will go up on the grocery shelves probably by 5 to 10 cents per pound," Nelson said. "But the market will sort itself out. It always does." The boom in bellies likely will cool later this year.

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