Americans, at least the ones who eat meat, love bacon.
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In the late 1990s, the average American consumed just under 17 pounds of bacon per year. By 2007, that number had risen to almost 18 pounds of the pork delicacy on an annual basis.
Unfortunately, consumers the world over might be forced to shell out more for their bacon next year due to escalating food inflation.
Britain's National Pig Association (NPA) last week called a global bacon and pork shortage "unavoidable," citing shrinking herds. The trade group said production fell across Europe last year and is declining again in 2012, according to CBS News.
This is not just a Europe-specific problem. Citing the ravages of the Midwest droughts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in August that U.S. hog producers are paring production in an effort to control costs.
But before you stock up for the coming "Aporkalypse," will this shortage really mean no bacon in 2013?
"If you define a shortage as a situation where product cannot be found or where buyers must wait in lines to buy a product, the answer is no," Cindy Cunningham, a spokeswoman for the Des Moines, Iowa-based National Pork Board, told the site Life's Little Mysteries via e-mail. "But the quantity of pork available to consumers in the U.S. and the rest of the world will decline in 2013, due to high feed costs and significant financial losses by producers."
Indeed, prices will rise. Some estimates forecast a 2%-3% increase, while the NPA said prices could double as production falls 10%.
The real trouble with this situation is that food inflation is not limited to bacon or other pork products.
In fact, consumers in 2013 will likely feel an added pinch in almost every aisle of the local grocery store.