Grabbing breakfast or a BLT could require you to make some financial assessments in the near future.
Wholesale prices for pork belly, which is used to make bacon, have nearly tripled since June, hitting their highest level in the last 12 months.
Animal-welfare laws in California are, at least in part, behind the surge. New rules, which went into effect on July 1 with the passage of the state’s Proposition 12, require farmers to give pigs at least 24 square feet in their pens if the meat is going to be sold in the state. The Wall Street Journal notes that about 15% of U.S. pork consumption is in California.
Regular, seasonal increases are also playing a part in the rise.
Here’s the good news for people who can’t get enough of the glorious, salty treat: So far, the rise in wholesale prices hasn’t been passed along to consumers. Many bacon suppliers source their own pig bellies, and restaurants can compensate for fluctuations in other ways. (That said, some restaurants are already downplaying the popular meat in their promotions.)
One possible result of the new California law is that shoppers in that state could see the price of bacon increase, since the number of suppliers that comply with the new California law is limited. Shoppers and diners in other states, meanwhile, might even see slightly lower prices as the supply of bacon in their area increases (as suppliers avoid the California market).
The Supreme Court upheld Proposition 12 in May, with Justice Neil Gorsuch writing, “While the Constitution addresses many weighty issues, the type of pork chops California merchants may sell is not on that list.”