TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Love your bacon, ham, and baby back ribs? You may have to get used to paying a hefty price, due to a virus killing millions of pigs and threatening pork production.
At Fifi’s Lunch Box in Terre Haute they stand by their motto, ‘Bacon makes everything better.’
“We do bacon cupcakes, bacon cookies, chocolate covered bacon. If you can eat it we can put bacon in it,” said Jaqueline Ruff, Co-Owner of Fifi’s Lunch Box.
A bacon lover’s dream come true, they even put bacon in their coffee.
“We have a bacon latte.”
Those one of a kind recipes require up to 80 pounds of bacon a week.
“We’re buying whole pork bellies from our sellers and we’re curing it through the natural process, and then we apple wood smoke it,” said Ruff.
Since January, Fifi’s has been paying more for their bacon due to a rare disease known porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PED.
The virus is already responsible for killing six million piglets across 27 states. Experts say the virus does not affect humans, except for the prices at the grocery store.
“We were paying $1.99 a pound for the raw bellies and now we are paying and over $3.00 a pound,” said Ruff.
From sweet treats to your local meat market it’s not just the price of bacon breaking the bank.
“Pork chops, pork steak that we’ve noticed but bacon has been the main one. Probably in the last month it’s went up $1.00 a lb,” said John Pluta, Meat Shop Manager at Mike’s Market in Terre Haute.
As the prices rise each week the customers are picking up the tab.
“It was $3.29 a pound last month now it’s $4.89 a pound,” said Pluta.
So will the obsession with bacon still sizzle?
“In ways, people tend to go to something cheaper and go to a cheaper cut like beef or chicken,” said Pluta.
“People tend to spend money on things that will make them happy,” said Ruff.
Those in the pork industry are uncertain how long the shortage will have an affect on prices.
U.S. pork production is expected to decline up to seven percent this year as a result of the disease, the biggest drop in more than thirty years.