A British pork industry group has launched a "Save Our Bacon" campaign in response to what they call an "unavoidable" world shortage of pork and bacon next year.
The group, National Pig Association, says the shortage is due to declining herds and high feed costs. The new campaign will urge British shoppers to select pork and bacon with a special red tractor logo that signifies domestic meat.
NPA chairman Richard Longthorp says an increase in demand now could help persuade supermarkets to offer higher prices for British pork.
"British supermarkets know they have to raise the price they pay Britain's pig farmers or risk empty spaces on their shelves next year," Longthorp said. "But competition is so fierce in the high street at present, each is waiting for the other to move first."
In a statement earlier this month, Longthorp explained that the higher prices could help stave off lower production, as the market is slow to react to the trickle-down effect of higher input costs.
"It usually takes at least six months for higher production costs to filter through to stop prices — but pig farmers simply haven't got that long. Some have got only a few weeks left before they run out of credit at the bank and have to sell up, and this is happening all over Europe," he said.
Last month, Purdue University economist Chris Hurt also predicted record losses for the U.S. pork industry moving into next year due to decreasing feed supplies and higher corn prices.
"A tsunami of red ink is about to wash across the pork industry, which is facing losses unseen even in the fall of 1998 when hog prices approached zero value," Hurt said in an August release. "Stressors include more hogs than expected in the market, rapid sow liquidation and record feed prices."
Hurt estimated that the national breeding herd could decline 4-6% until January, but sow liquidation should slow this winter.