Record bacon prices impact Bozeman-area businesses


Record bacon prices impact Bozeman area businesses

BOZEMAN, Mont. - A virus that attacks young pigs has caused to price of bacon to hit an all-time high.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average price of a pound of bacon rose another 6 cents in June, up to an all-time high of $6.11 a pound. That's 38 cents for an average single strip.

Bacon rang in at almost half that price 10 years ago.

Experts are blaming the PED virus. It has spread rapidly across the midwest and killed some 7 million piglets.

NBC Montana looked into how the price is affecting local businesses and bacon lovers.

Randy Litschauer works at his meat processing shop Flying Fur Custom Meats, where he cuts wild game, beef and pork. Pork means ham, sausage and -- of course -- bacon.

"America loves bacon," said Litschauer.

But that love comes at a price. Litschauer not only credits the large amount of recent pig fatalities but also the improving economy driving up demand for the commodity.

He said that, "Really did raise the price, and sometimes that will just keep prices going."

As he processed a slab of pork belly and bacon, Litschauer told NBC Montana he's had to raise prices to keep up, about 10-percent over last year.

"I've learned, you know, sometimes you have to sell more at a lower quantity to try and make your price," said Litschauer, "You're going to have to work it."

But Litschauer's Flying Fur isn't the only business that has to make decisions about how to handle the jump in bacon prices.

Kevin Caracciolo operates the Cat Eye Café in Bozeman. He says when something like bacon begins to cost a restaurant more money, "You either have to adjust by raising your price or you say 'Alright, we used to give you X amount, now we're only going to give you this much until things level out.'"

Caracciolo tells us his customers eat a lot bacon -- so much that he noticed the price jump. He's paying 7 to 8 percent more for bacon than he did last year. Unfortunately, that cost is one he has to pass on to his customers. But he's confident things will level out. 

"I think we've hit the highest point and now it sounds like it's becoming steady," said Caracciolo.

But for Litschauer, the pork price is never steady. He wants bacon eaters to know that prices change all the time.

"There are price fluctuations and usually once or twice a year you're going to see a permanent raise," said Litschauer.

A new report says the jump in the price of bacon isn't limited to America. Prices in Canada are up more than 20 percent in the last year.

More Stories