• Tue, Sep 25 2012

Sorry, Paleo Folks: A Bacon Shortage Is Coming (And It’s Kind Of Your Fault)

bacon shortage

According to a Britain’s National Pig Association, a bacon shortage is definitely, definitely on the way.  And while they’re blaming a shortage of corn and soy to feed the pigs that are required to make bacon, we all know what the real culprit is: The world’s obsession with and insistence upon eating the fatty, salted meat. Also, probably, the popularity of the paleo diet.

I kid. But only kind of. Consumer demand does actually have something to do with this shortage and increase of price, both in the EU and here at home.

The shortage, which the industry says is ‘unavoidable,’ is technically due to a global lack of feed that has already been pressing on farmers. Eventually, it’s going to have to drive up prices…and lead to less product. But that lack of feed is correlated to climate change, which has lead to massive droughts and fires that have resulted in not enough feed. And climate change can, in part, be traced back to meat consumption. So, yes. The bacon shortage is, partially, due to excessive meat consumption. And boy, have we been excessively consuming bacon.

In the last few years, the combination of the weird cultural love of bacon and the uber-popular diets that have touted its benefits (because, remember, before there was paleo, there was Atkins) have driven consumer demand through the roof. Naturally, pork suppliers have been anxious to keep up. Unfortunately, rising feed costs have made it difficult for them to keep their herds well-fed–which puts both the farmers and the government in a bind, because they want to keep the price of bacon low.

It’s hard not to also look at the ludicrous uptick in unsustainable demand for this particular pork product with critical eyes when you hear that there are just too many pigs to feed, but there’s an easy answer: Eat less bacon.

With fewer pigs to feed (due to lower consumer demand), feed prices will become less competitive, which will not only relieve farmers, but also bring the price of the animals that need the feed back down. Of course, that may mean that paleo dieters and meat hipsters may need to find a new protein source.

Image by Flickr user cookbookman17

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  • Lauren

    pardon me for sounding naive, but couldn’t you just eat grass-fed meats. If you are truly paleo, you would be doing that anyway.

  • Meghan

    The problem isn’t so much meat consumption in general as it is modern meat consumption. How many of us can name more than a dozen cuts of meat? How many of us can name a dozen cuts AND know what to do with them? People used to eat the whole animal, toe to hoof to tail. Now we eat bacon and chicken breasts and don’t concern ourselves with where the rest of the animal goes or what kind of resources are wasted for our selective consumption. Humans do need to consume animal products (fats and collagen most importantly) for optimal health, but they need to do it in a way that would be recognizable to the generations before us.

  • Paul Brin

    You missed the point. Paleo means eating pasture raised animals, which means that the shortage of corn and soy to feed the pigs that are required to make bacon
    is only a problem for the Corporate farming sector.

  • TS

    Wow this article is so scientific. All of the studies cited were so interesting and well designed! I applaud the author for all of the careful, dedicated research that clearly went into this article. What a perfect understanding of agriculture, climate change, economics, evolution, and human health! Nobel prize material right here.