Food Trend: Pork Prices on the Rise
Pulled pork, pork tenderloin, and bacon on everything…pork is popular on most menus, and for good reason. It’s delicious, versatile, and most meat-eaters love it. But you may have noticed something not so awesome about pork recently…rising prices. You’re not imagining it! Pork prices have gone up about 4.5%, while bacon prices have gone up about 8%. So what’s behind the price increase?
A deadly (and highly contagious) illness has been sweeping the pig population. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PED) causes severe vomiting and diarrhea in pigs. The virus doesn’t affect humans, but it can definitely hurt the pork industry. In fact, one swine expert speculated that the virus killed about 5% of the annual pig supply.
Unfortunately, rising pork prices show no signs of going away any time soon—the trend is expected to continue into the spring and summer. If pork supply continues to decrease, you can expect pork prices to be higher than usual for the foreseeable future. Combined with high beef prices, as well as high fruit and vegetable prices due to the weather, these price changes can mean serious problems for restaurants trying to make a profit.
How can you deal with higher pork costs…without increasing your prices? Some creativity on your menu may be in order. Try using less expensive cuts of pork, or change your dishes to include more vegetables and less meat. You might also consider cutting costs in other areas of your restaurant. The important thing to keep in mind is the quality of your food. If there’s a noticeable drop in quality, your customers definitely won’t be impressed.
Have you noticed higher-than-usual pork prices? What are you doing to deal with them? Do you plan to change your menu or your prices to accommodate them?