Bacon shortage? More like a bunch of hogwash

Bacon Fest Sacramento co-founder Brian Guido
Bacon Fest Sacramento co-founder Brian Guido

A bacon shortage? The notion sounds like a bunch of hogwash, especially around Sacramento.

The annual Bacon Fest Sacramento wrapped up Jan. 29, following a weekend of bacon celebrations at local restaurants. Be it bacon paella at Selland’s Market-Cafe, a bacon themed burger battle at Empress Tavern, and even a Kevin Bacon tribute show at Torch Club, bacon in all its iterations was especially abundant.

However, not long after Bacon Fest Sacramento had reached its burp-y conclusion, news headlines screamed about a possible shortage of the beloved cured pork belly.

The United States evidently has a Fort Knox-like reserve of frozen bacon, and according to the Charlotte Observer, those supplies have hit a 50 year low, having been outpaced by demand. The story pointed to a report by the Ohio Pork Council, which noted that pork belly costs have increased by 20 percent due to the low reserve levels, even with pig farmers raising more swine than ever.

Cut to Twitter blowing up with anguished tweets, using the #baconshortage hashtag.

But breathe easy, there’s no reason to start hogging all the bacon. In a culinary minded bit of crusading journalism, the New York Times on Wednesday debunked the notion of a bacon shortage as “fake news.”

“To imply that there’s going to be some shortage of bacon is wrong,” said Steve Meyer, the vice president of pork analysis for EMI Analytics, in an interview with the New York Times. “There’s plenty of hogs coming. There’s going to be plenty of bacon.”

Over at Hock Farm Craft & Provisions, it’s all been bacon-as-usual at the restaurant. Its chef de cuisine, Jason Azevedo, emerged as the champion in Bacon Fest’s annual chef’s competition – the second year in a row he’s won this ultimate in local bacon bragging rights. During the week of Bacon Fest Sacramento, Hock Farm was in no short supply of bacon, pairing it with scallops, pizza, mac ’n’ cheese and much more – all without a price hike.

“I don’t think there’s a huge shortage, and we’re able to get what we want to get,” Azevedo said. “Every now and then, there’s a hiccup in price, but as far as not having enough to make and sell, I don’t think we’ll have that problem. Bacon goes great with everything and we make it really good.”

Meanwhile, the bacon business has been booming at V. Miller Meats. The East Sacramento butcher that specializes in meat sourced from small farms sold twice its usual supply of bacon during Bacon Fest Sacramento, and hasn’t reported any issues with keeping up with demand.

“Last week we did see a good spike from Bacon Week and sold over 100 pounds of bacon,” said owner Eric Miller. “A normal week is about 60 pounds. We haven’t seen any problems (filling orders), that’s for sure.”

Chris Macias: 916-321-1253, @chris_macias