It's no secret that bacon is one of America's most beloved foods. The salty meat went from being a traditional breakfast food to a permanent fixture on trendy restaurant menus everywhere. It's become so popular that the pork treat sparked a cult-like following that currently includes bacon races and even a news website called Bacon Today. It's safe to say that running out of bacon could very well be a lot of people's worst nightmare – and it might come true.
What's the hold up?
A pig shortage combined with a high demand for pork items might mean a bacon crisis for this country. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the price of pork items has soared over the last year. As the New York Post summarized, bacon prices hit an all-time high when compared to the last 30 years.
The reason for the hike is a virus that started killing baby pigs early in 2013. General Manager of Hitch Pork Producers Mike Brandherm told The Wall Street Journal that more than 30,000 piglets died from it in just six weeks. Compared to other animal-borne illnesses, like mad cow disease, those numbers are very high.
When America decided bacon is great
In addition to these setbacks, bacon has only continued to gain popularity. Business Week explained pork products stark beginning. Prior to its fame-like status in America, companies practically had to give it away because no one wanted it. People were focused on health-conscious decisions and fatty foods just didn't make the cut.
It wasn't until Hardee's released the Frisco Burger in 1992 that bacon began to see a commercial comeback. Larry Cizek, retired head of food service marketing at the Pork Board, told Business Week that this was a momentous time for fast food establishments and bacon in general. Hardee's stood out among other places, like Jack in the Box, that offered bacon options, because of its dedication to quality.
"People would buy it, regardless of health cares. It just went," Cizek told Business Week.
How Hardee's made clients believers
Other fast food establishments weren't willing to cook the greasy meat on a daily basis because it was laborious and required a rigorous cleanup that included removing grease from traps, reported Business Week. It wasn't until a few years later that other establishments were able to successfully push pork products.
From there, bacon turned into a commodity in fast food places, and then eventually fine dining establishments as famous chefs decided to offer pork belly and other unique spins on it. Over the past few years, it's become something of a mania.
People squealing about pork
Everything from bacon desserts to road races featuring salty snacks along the route confirm America's love for pig products. Within the last five years, restaurants and even bakeries have come forth to offer clients bacon-centric food and drink items. You can drink it down or eat it for any meal of the day. People went so bonkers for it that there are even nonedible products, like bacon lip balm, candles and more.
Oddly, there's bacon fuel
Hormel even designed a motorcycle that can run entirely on bacon grease, reported CNBC. The invention is part of a marketing tactic, Steve Venenga, the vice president of new products marketing, told the publication. The company even paid someone to take it for a spin. Hormel hired an actor to ride the bike from headquarters in Austin, Minnesota, to the company-sponsored International Bacon Film Festival in San Diego. Eric Pierson told CNBC that it was an incredible ride. But despite all of the fuss about bacon, what with bacon-fueled motorcycles and homemade desserts- Venenga estimated that it will eventually lose its lust.
Perhaps it will be another health trend or restaurant fad – but like all good things, America's love for bacon might come to an end before the country actually experiences a shortage of the product. Bacon has become so embedded in the culture that it's unlikely that people will buy all of it up at once – most places are prepared for it to be a big hit.
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