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Bacon Shortage May Sizzle Consumers

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The U.K.'s National Pig Association is predicting that pork will get more pricey, warning that increased feed costs have caused a worldwide decline in the size of herds.

Droughts this summer in the US Midwest damaged corn and soy harvests and contributed to the increase in feed costs. The NPA cites falling herd numbers in Denmark , Germany, Ireland, Spain, France , Italy , Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland and Sweden.

They predict that the price of European pork products will double by the later part of next year.

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"British supermarkets know they have to raise the price they pay Britain's pig farmers or risk empty spaces on their shelves next year," said the NPA's chairman, Richard Longthorp, in a statement.

He blames the competitive market for the reason why the prices haven't increased sooner: "But competition is so fierce in the high street at present, each is waiting for the other to move first."

"I think it’s overblown for our situation," said economist Chris Hurt of Purdue University, "The one thing we don't want to do is scare consumers."

Hurt points out that beef supply is more of the issue, as it takes minimum of 9 months for the industry to start producing more cattle.  While bacon prices may increase the most, he predicts prices to increase a maximum of 4 percent next year.

The U.K.'s NPA is recommending that shoppers purchase pork with a Red Tractor logo as part of their "Save Our Bacon" campaign. They are hoping it will persuade supermarkets to pay more for their pig products.

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