Some people have been calling it ‘the greatest panic of our time’ and for any self confessed bacon lover out there, which we have to admit is nearly all of us, this is definitely a very worrying issue; almost as bad as climate change or H5N1. The great bacon shortage of 2012 was first announced by a British Trade Organisation actually named ‘The Pig Association’ (so they must know what they’re on about), and their press release stated that ‘a shortage of bacon and pork was now unavoidable’. This was immediately pounced on by bacon lovers the world over and circulated the net in only a couple of days. There was panic. A shortage of bacon was unthinkable. Indeed, what do we put in our BLTs? Where do we get our fat and greasy recommended daily allowance from? What do we have with our Large Mike’s Bites Breakfast with extra bacon? Can we even contemplate how the world is going to change?
A bacon shortage would surely bring normal life to a standstill more than half a centimetre of snow sprinkled over Heathrow Airport. However, in the words of Lance Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army (Who also happened to be a butcher!) ‘Don’t Panic!’ The whole situation has turned out to be hoax. It seems The Pig Association was simply trying to get us used to the idea that pork was going to cost a little more in the future. Don’t worry, not as much as a good steak but it will unfortunately increase. Mike’s Bikes Breakfasts with extra bacon may have to become a bit more of a luxury than a once a week tradition. The real reason is due to an actual crisis – drought. In Europe and the USA, this last summer has been one of the driest in living memory. Britain is obviously exempt from that rule (as seems to always be the case), but if you remember there was a small drought and a hose pipe ban in the southern counties around April and May. Countries ranging from Spain to Finland have only received around 25% of their average summer rainfall, and 62% of the USA are already experiencing drought. The effects are simple; drought damages the global corn crop, corn prices increase, pigs are fed corn, and so this means your ham chops and streaky bacon are going to cost a little more. There is no shortage, just a knock on cost to the consumer. Still I am a little upset that my bacon is going to cost more. I suppose it just means I’m going to have allocated more money from my car fuel to my emergency bacon fund.