Pork Prices On The Rise As Supply Dwindles

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Summer is just a few weeks away, but when you fire up the grill, you'll be paying more your favorite cuts of meat.   The federal government says the cost of beef is up at least five percent this year and now the price of pork is also rising.

At JP's Party Place, each sizzling slab starts with a secret recipe.  On weekends, they go through 500 to 600 slabs of ribs. 

But rib cook “Porky” O'Connor says higher prices are putting him in a pinch.  “It's up about 15 percent from last year,” he says.  He buys in volume to try to lock in prices, working closely with distributors to keep prices low.

Part of the problem is a virus that has wiped out millions of piglets across the country, fewer pigs on the farm getting to market lowers supply and raises prices.

At Weiland's Market, pork chops are the number one seller, but higher prices are starting to saw away at the bottom line.

Since the first of the year, Owner Scott Bowman says his cost for pork skyrocketed 35 percent.  That has gone down a bit, but it's still higher than last year.

"Once they get to a certain price, you have no choice, or you're going to start losing money,” Bowman says.  He calls it a daily juggling act on what to charge customers, adding that he has raised prices about 10 to 15 percent.

But, he says just this week, a sale is on, knowing that it's still important to make his pork products as affordable as possible.

It is something “Porky” O'Connor is also thinking about as the summer approaches. "I am hoping they go back down (so) we can pass along that savings to our customers," he explains.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says bacon is up 13 percent this year and pork chops are up an average of 6 percent.  That means chops will cost you about 25 cents more per pound than last year.