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Roy Graber, staff reporter for WATTAgNet, combines his Midwestern farming background with his knowledge of economics and agriculture policy to offer a deeper look at the poultry and pig industries.
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Should bacon craze concern poultry industry?

Bacon-blog
Photo by Roy Graber

While pork has long been mentioned in talks of competing proteins, bacon is entering the conversation more

August 28, 2017

People in the pig industry often makes references to the bacon craze, which has been going on for several years now and has in fact been a big boost for the industry.

Companies such as Hormel Foods have made investments to better keep up with the bacon demand. Just a few days ago during Hormel’s quarterly earnings call, the company's president and CEO, Jim Snee, spoke of the expansion at the company’s Dold Foods plant in Wichita, Kansas. He said Hormel has committed $130 million in capital towards an expansion at the facility, as Hormel has “experienced tremendous demand for bacon and this expansion will give us much-needed capacity for many of our premium pre-cooked bacon items, most notably, Bacon 1.”

The expansion project is expected to be completed in December 2018.

Entering the competing proteins conversation

It isn't unusual to hear people in the broiler and turkey industry talk about “competing proteins.” There are frequent comparisons to how chicken and turkey measure up to pork, but less had previously been said about one pig meat product in particular: bacon.

On the same day Hormel Foods spoke of the demand for bacon, Sanderson Farms, the third largest broiler company in the United States, mentioned the bacon craze during its quarterly earnings call.

When discussing price spreads among proteins during the August 24 earnings call, Sanderson Farms President and Chief Operating Officer Lampkin Butts acknowledged: “Other than bacon, we’re happy to compete with anything. I eat a lot of bacon. But we’ve always said that we watch it. It’s important.”

However, Butts added that bacon hadn’t previously been deemed “really material.” Joe F. Sanderson Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms also noted that “people will eat some chickens, some beef and some pork. … It hadn’t been a factor.”

But will it become more of a factor? It’s a question worth asking.

Clearly, companies such as Hormel that have invested in increased bacon production hope that it will.

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