If there was ever a food that is considered quintessentially American, even more American than bald eagle pie, it has to be bacon.
Americans will put bacon on anything, make entire meals out of bacon and eat it alone by the carload.
And no wonder! The stuff is truly delicious, but the trick is keeping some on hand for long-term storage. That’s where canned bacon comes in. Convenient, long-lasting, it’s pretty much the perfect food.
But my goodness, has the stuff gotten expensive lately! And that begs the question: why is canned bacon so expensive?
Canned bacon is expensive because food costs are going way up due to a variety of market factors, including the actual bacon. The canning process itself further increases these costs.
It turns out that bacon is actually subject to a lot of market factors, way more than you might suspect.
Unfortunately, bacon is much costlier than it used to be, so canned bacon makes any variety that much more expensive.
It might still be worthwhile for you to keep some on hand, but you’ve got to justify the cost.
I’ll tell you all about the various contributing factors that have made canned bacon so expensive down below…
So, Why is Canned Bacon so Expensive?
Canned bacon is so expensive because bacon prices have been climbing for a while now due to downturns in the economy, market factors, and other problems associated with bacon supply.
The canning of bacon itself also increases costs due to processing and packaging expenses.
What is the Current Cost of Bacon?
Right now, a package of bacon in the United States will retail for about $7.50. Canned bacon goes for anywhere from $12 to $18 a can.
Bacon is getting more and more expensive all around the world, though, for reasons we will discuss.
Here in the US, some estimates in various markets have seen the price of bacon at retail climb by more than 28% in just the past few years.
But if you go back a little further to just the middle of the 2010s, the consumer price of bacon has gone up more than 45%! Crazy!
Below, we will dissect some of the reasons why the price of bacon has skyrocketed so.
1. Each Pig Only Produces a Little Bacon
Pigs are so great because they give us lots and lots of pork. But did you know only a small fraction of that pork is bacon, in any form, and belly bacon in particular?
It’s true! So despite being a breakfast and dinner table staple, bacon is actually a pretty precious cut from a hog.
There’s just not that much to go around, and you can’t really process any other pork from the pig into bacon.
So considering that processors and manufacturers of all kinds want bacon for their own products, this creates pretty fierce competition for it on the marketplace, and that can raise prices.
2. Pigs are Costly to Raise and Slaughter
Something else to keep in mind is that the pigs themselves from which we get our bacon are quite expensive to raise and slaughter.
Raising pigs means you’re going to need a lot of land, specialized housing, lots and lots of food and, of course, veterinary care and other equipment associated with keeping them.
This means that farmers, even those who are raising them on a huge scale, are spending more on pigs than many other animals to get them to a suitable weight for slaughter.
Further complicating matters is the fact that hogs typically need a more varied diet than other animals in order to put on weight properly and remain healthy.
This is further exacerbated because the cost of foods that pigs eat have likewise gone up, making the raising of pigs even more expensive than it has been in the past.
3. Domestic Consumer Demand for Bacon is Going Up, Up, Up
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but certainly America and likely much of the world has gone plumb-crazy for bacon.
People put bacon on everything, at every meal! Bacon products and bacon-flavored foods are everywhere. You quite literally cannot turn around without seeing them on store shelves and on menus.
This, of course, causes prices to go up even further.
4. Demand in Europe is Also Increasing
Like I said above, another contributing cost to the price of bacon is the fact that other countries, and much of Europe particularly, are eating even more bacon.
With globalization increasing and showing no signs of slowing, the global supply of bacon has now been impacted.
Further increasing demand as a whole against a very limited supply and further showing bacon producers and sellers that consumers will, in fact, pay to keep the supply of salty, succulent bacon flowing.
5. Restaurants and Manufacturers are Using More Bacon than Ever
And it’s not just consumers that are eating all of this bacon, not directly.
Restaurants and food manufacturers are always adding more items containing bacon to the lists of products that they offer and onto their menus.
They’re doing this because consumers are demanding it, of course…
Whereas you used to be able to get bacon and eggs at a diner or a bacon cheeseburger at your favorite burger joint, bacon is now an option for everything and often the centerpiece for various specialty offerings.
More bacon offered more of the time means ever more will be purchased by commercial retailers. And, you already know, this further drives up costs in the end.
6. The Bacon Supply is Simply Struggling to Meet Demand
So, combining rampant consumer demand for bacon, increased commercial usage of bacon, and increased costs for raising pigs shows us that the supply of bacon overall is simply insufficient to meet that demand and keep prices low.
Combining these factors alone with the runaway inflation attendant to a bad economy means that bacon is going to stay pricey and canned bacon even more so.
7. The Canning Process Adds to Already Considerable Costs
Talking about canned bacon in particular, like every other food that’s out there the canning process and significant cost to any food you buy on a weight or volume basis.
Processing the bacon to get it ready for canning, along with any necessary additives for preservation, drive up the cost. The can itself also significantly increases the cost…
Generally, you’ll usually spend at least half again as much on canned bacon as you will bacon out of the cold case at the supermarket, and you might spend twice as much or even more!
8. And All Food Costs are Climbing!
Something else to keep in mind is that all food costs, for every single kind of food you can imagine, are all increasing.
This is from the double whammy of government overreach simply shutting down society for a couple of years and then the resulting economic collapse.
Every food is affected, including bacon, and that means canned bacon, too.
9. Recent Swine Flu Epidemics Have Further Curbed Supply
And last, but certainly not least, the past few years have seen other epidemics take place, specifically swine flu outbreaks.
These outbreaks have absolutely decimated many commercial herds and even smaller regional and local ones.
This greatly reduced commercial population, particularly of mature hogs ready for slaughter, only served to further squeeze the pork supply overall, and further drive up prices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Bacon started to get really expensive around 2015 or 2016. Economic factors concerning pork and a generally inadequate supply saw prices begin to surge.
A pound of refrigerated bacon costs around $6.50 in the United States as of the time this article has gone live.
No. Bacon was often seen as a lesser meat in the past, and only became increasingly popular in the mid-1980s. Its popularity has been going up ever since.
Over in jolly, old England there’s a restaurant that sells gold dusted bacon – yes, actual gold – from rare and exquisitely bred pigs for over $40 a piece. That would be several hundred dollars per pound!
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.