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Barbecue season is upon us and be ready to open your wallet wider to buy those baby back ribs, along with your Sunday morning bacon and Tuesday night pork chops.
The Food Institute reports that retail pork prices during May rose by the largest amount in five years in a single month – 2.4% – and bacon prices jumped 2.6%! During all of 2018, bacon prices fell 1.7%.
And look to shell out even more for your favorite hog-related feedstuffs since the prices your supermarkets pay for pork are rising even faster – by 7.4% in April alone. Grocers are hesitant to raise prices to their shoppers but increased costs of that level cannot be absorbed in their very small profit margins.
But why are prices increasing so fast and far? The primary reason is African Swine Fever has killed as many as 200 million pigs in China since early 2018. Thus China needs to import at least 41% more pork than it has in the past. And while the U.S. cannot fill that need directly due to the recently imposed tariffs by China, U.S. exports to other large pork consuming nations such as Japan will rise as result of the short global supply.