Pork Prices Set to Surge Just in Time for BBQ Season

Supply shortage, meet pent-up demand. 

By now, you've probably heard Joe Biden discuss his goal of ensuring that Americans are vaccinated enough by the Fourth of July that we can all enjoy a relatively normal holiday. Don't tell that to the pigs, though, because it sounds like they've got other plans.

Why's that? Because there's been some issues with the hog (i.e. pork) supply since the pandemic. Like many other foods, the pig to pork pipeline supply chain has been disrupted since the beginning of the pandemic.

Between processing plants that had to shut down operations in response to worker outbreaks, the loss of wholesale restaurant customers, and new cross-border restrictions and challenges, pork farmers didn't really have much of a need for as many pigs. Add in fears about African Swine Flu (just for pigs, don't worry) in some parts of the world and there just isn't enough to go around.

hot dogs
Photo by Douglas Sacha / Getty Images.

Our pork problems will soon be compounded by what analysts believe could be an uptick in demand. As vaccinations progress and our pent-up desire for get-togethers takes hold, we're all going to be after a lot more hot dogs and bacon for barbecues. Factor in continued fears about indoor dining, and you can see why one industry expert who spoke to Insider noted that barbecues "will be a big driver of meat demand in the coming months."

So how might this all manifest? Prices will likely push upward because the tap of demand has been turned back on before pork supply is ready to accommodate it. Stores may "price ration" their supply, meaning consumers will be asked to pay more — with fewer deals to go around— in order to avoid selling out of their stock too quickly.

So if you're on the fence about grilling burgers or dogs, maybe opt for the beef for the time being. At the very least, your plan to serve bacon-wrapped hot dogs can probably wait until 2022.

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