Is the bacon shortage real?

Jacqueline Quynh talks about the effects of a bacon shortage.

NEW ORLEANS -- As many Americans woke up to sizzling, crispy, bacon this morning, some also woke up to some startling headlines; some even suggesting that there might be a bacon shortage. 

In reality, the nation's pork belly reserves have been slipping to historic 50-year lows over the past three months. 

Eyewitness News checked it out to make sure. One store we visited was virtually fully stocked.  By our estimate, a pack of bacon averaged about $5; No shortage there. But is this even a big deal?  We asked some of you. 

“Absolutely it's that yummy,” said Linda Depanicis.

Other residents agreed.

“When I want something like bacon, it's a weekly splurge, so it really doesn't make a lot of difference,” said Jeff Colins.

However, the chef at Brown Butter Restaurant in Mid-City told a different story.

"It already started affecting us, we started buying our own pork belly and making our own bacon,” said Dayne Womax.

He said he used to pay $9 a pound for premium bacon, now it costs more.

"It's upwards of $12 in some cases,” he said.

From the kitchen, we went to the business school at Tulane University.  Professor Gans Narayanamoorthy says it's not hogwash after all.

"So if you look back three months the price of lean hogs has gone from 54 cents a pound to 70 cents a pound,” said Narayanamoorthy.

That's the price sold by farmers, but he points out it's still better than prices after disease hurt the hog population three years ago.

"So if prices go up 30 percent and you're in a business that sells pork, that's a pretty big deal," he said.

The professor also said it’s likely falling reserves, and an underestimation of demand likely contributed to the spike, but we’re nowhere near a crisis.

And the prices could climb up a little higher, but for now, the market is expected to rebound and catch up with production. 

And then, there were some Eyewitness News talked that said, they might wait for prices to come down, after all, it's not exactly the healthiest option.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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